It is with sadness that we announce the passing of Merle Jones (nee McPherson). She drifted off peacefully on September 9, 2023 at the age of 98. She is predeceased by her husband of 52 years, Harold, and survived by her son Ken, and daughter Beth.
Merle was born in London, Ontario, the only child of Donald McPherson and Elizabeth Poulton. She always retained a strong sense of connection to South-western Ontario, and had many fond memories of childhood visits to her aunt Bertha’s farm near Lake Huron. An honours student in high school, she was the first in her family to go on to university. She studied Chemistry and earned a Bachelors from Western, then a Masters at Mount Holyoke College in New England. Around 1950 she moved to Ottawa where she worked for the newly established Defense Research Board and heartily enjoyed the life of a young career-woman. She developed a wide circle of friends, and with them enjoyed many picnics in the Gatineau hills, and nights out at the theatre. In 1960, she met Harold while attending a night class in Art Appreciation. After marrying in 1961, Merle and Harold bought a home on Lakeview Terrace, where they soon built strong and lasting friendships. Merle left her job when Ken was born, and while she never returned to paid work she was never content to live life simply as a homemaker. Her passions included years of service on the National Council for Women, volunteering as an English-as-a-Second Language teacher, and active engagement in her church congregation, first at St Andrew’s and later Erskine Presbyterian, where she helped ensure the church served refugee, LGBTQ+, socially-isolated, and low-income members of the community. After Harold’s retirement, they thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to do more travelling together. After Harold’s death, Merle insisted on staying in her home as long as she could. She finally moved to Toronto in 2022, after 60 years on Lakeview Terrace, so that she could be closer to her children.
Merle was many things - a proud chemist, intrepid theatre-goer, warm-hearted neighbour, eclectic art collector, avid mystery reader, and ever-enthusiastic world traveller (36 countries at last count).
A memorial service to celebrate her life will take place on Saturday, September 16 at Turner & Porter Butler Chapel (4933 Dundas Street West, Toronto). Visitation at 10:00 AM followed by a Service at 11:00 and a lunch to follow at Via Napoli Pizzeria a few doors away.
For those who wish, donations may be made to the Dalhousie Food Cupboard – an Ottawa charity that Merle and Harold supported for decades and was very close to their hearts. To make a donation you can visit: https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/dalhousie-food-action-group-inc/
Special thanks go to all of Merle’s caregivers over the years.