Mildred I. Merchant

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mildred "Mickie" (Potter) Merchant, 93, passed away on June 7, 2013, in Joplin, Mo., at the home of her son, Don Potter. She was born Feb. 1, 1920, in the Bellamy area of Vernon County, to Joseph and Alta Shepherd.

Mickie attended Science Hill grade school and El Dorado Springs High School for two years.

She was united in marriage to Melvin Potter on Aug. 25, 1938, at the Nevada courthouse. To this union three sons were born: James (died in infancy), Robert, and Don. Wanting to make the country their home, they lived and farmed in the Montevallo and Olympia area before settling on a farm northwest of Virgil City in Vernon County.

In 1954, Mickie suffered a severe broken leg and was still recovering when Melvin died in a farming accident. With the kind help of family, friends, and neighbors, she decided to remain on the farm, which she loved and thought was a good place to raise her sons.

In 1958, she married Robert Merchant of Taberville, Mo. Mickie and Robert lived on R-1 in El Dorado Springs for more than 30 years. She often would go to neighbors' houses to say "hi" and see how they were doing and share something from her garden. Of course, the El Dorado Springs picnic was a highlight for her.

Mickie worked election day for many years at Oakgrove School, west of Virgil City, and at other places in the township. She also stayed connected with people as a Red Cross volunteer, working bloodmobiles and blood pressure clinics for more than 30 years.

As farming permitted, Mickie and Robert were able to travel some and took sightseeing tours in more than 45 states. They attended country and neighborhood churches. After Robert's death, she remained on the farm for a few years. Then in 1993, she left the farm and moved to El Dorado Springs where she attended the First Baptist Church and the Church of God (Holiness).

Mickie enjoyed playing cards, checkers, and dominoes with family and friends. She joined a group of similarly aged women, called the "Forty-Niners," who celebrated birthdays by going out to eat or meeting at a member's house for fun and fellowship.

Mickie was preceded in death by her parents, Joseph and Alta Shepherd, of El Dorado Springs; her first husband, Melvin Potter; her second husband, Robert Merchant; and three brothers, Joseph Shepherd, Floyd Shepherd, and Charles Shepherd, all of Idaho.

Survivors include sons, Robert Potter and wife, Glenda, of Lebanon, Mo., and Don Potter and wife, Carol, of Joplin, Mo.; stepson Larry Merchant and wife, Sherry, of Roanoke, Va.; stepdaughter De Lyte Ebbers and husband, Chris, of Dysart, Iowa; four grandchildren; four stepgrandchildren; seven great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.

Funeral services will be held at 11 a.m., at Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home in El Dorado Springs, on Saturday, June 15, with the Rev. Dennis Painter officiating. Burial will follow in El Dorado Springs City Cemetery, under the direction of Bland-Hackleman Funeral Home. Pallbearers will be Brent Stinespring, Martin Potter, Ralph Zartman, Ron Zartman, and Robbie Zartman.

In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the Cedar County branch of the American Red Cross and left at the funeral home.

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