Kay Mercer and Lyn Worrill, mother and daughter, were close in life and, at the end, close in death.
"They had a somewhat electric relationship, a few sparks now and then, as mothers and daughters often do," said Mrs. Worrill's husband Jack. "But they enjoyed doing many things together -- like the trip to England the two of them made, with both of them coming back with a taste for scones, crumpets and clotted cream."
Mrs. Worrill, 70, died Tuesday at her Marietta home of complications from colon cancer, and Mrs. Mercer, 95, died Friday of heart failure at Tranquility Hospice, Marietta. A joint memorial service for them will be at 11 a.m. Monday at the First Baptist Church of Marietta. Mayes Ward-Dobbins Funeral Home is in charge of arrangements.
Born and reared in Illinois, Mrs. Mercer graduated from the University of Illinois in 1936 and moved to Kokomo, Ind., after marrying Mahlon Mercer in 1938. The two of them resettled in Atlanta after Mr. Mercer took the post of minister of music at Second Ponce de Leon Baptist Church, but he was only there two years before he died of leukemia.
"After that, the ministers and staff treated Mom, my sister and me just like family," said her son, Stephen Mercer of Sevierville, Tenn. "Mom thought about returning to the Midwest but decided we had put down roots here."
Mrs. Mercer first taught second grade at Crew Street Elementary, then English at Bass and North Fulton high schools. After completing graduate studies at Emory and the University of Georgia, she moved on to become a guidance counselor at North Fulton.
Jenny Lee Brown of Atlanta, now retired, was a teacher at North Fulton and admired Mrs. Mercer as an educator and friend. "Kay was the sweetest person and was fair to all the students there, counseling them with their problems, whether they were school-related or personal," she said.
Christen Pruett of Camden, S.C., remembers as a child going with her grandmother to a Buckhead neighborhood grocery, or to church, or to a restaurant, and running into her former students, who invariably would tell Mrs. Mercer how much she meant to them as a teacher. "I was proud that Grandma Kay went back to school after her husband died and earned a master's in education," Mrs. Pruett said. "She has inspired me to do the same."
Lyn Worrill graduated from Bass High School and attended Indiana University. In 1959 she married Jack Worrill and settled in the Chastain Park neighborhood, raising three daughters. When her girls started taking ballet lessons at Ruth Mitchell Dance Studio, Mrs. Worrill got a job at a Buckhead store called the Bar selling ballet garb and shoes.
When she and her husband moved to Marietta in 1985, she worked at first with the food service staff at First Methodist Church of Marietta, then First Baptist. Later, she had a job she really enjoyed with Pike Nurseries. "After her family," said her husband, Jack Worrill, "her dearest loves were dance and plants."
"I used to call Lyn a dumpster diver," he said. "Lyn would salvage the plants the store would discard and bring them home. Shelf appeal or not, she usually found a way to resuscitate them."
Mrs. Mercer's survivors also include three other grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren; and two great-great-grandchildren. Mrs. Worrill's survivors also include three daughters, Lauri Biggs of Marietta, MaKay Swanson of Powder Springs and Abby Shetler of Woodstock; eight grandchildren; and two great-grandchildren.
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