Visitation at Funeral Home
Obituary of Merry M. Terry
In Loving Memory
Merry M. Terry
Merry Marion Terry, 82, of Yardley, PA died on November 16th after a brief and courageous battle with cancer at the Hospice Inpatient Unit at Robert Wood Johnson - Hamilton surrounded by the love of her family and friends.
Born in Montclair, NJ two days before Christmas, Merry grew up playing with dolls, enjoying picnics in the woods, skipping rope, listening to radio soap operas, and acting out stories from the Cisco Kid with her younger sister (and lifelong confidant), Jan.
She graduated from Hightstown High School in 1958 where, in addition to earning stellar grades, Merry loved performing leading roles in plays, contributing to the art club and Future Teachers of America, and campaigning her way onto her student council. Her yearbook reports Merry was known for her vivaciousness, “savoir-faire”, sunny outlook, and “golden halo of soft blonde hair.”
Merry fell in love with her husband, George Dewey (whom she affectionately called “Dew”), when she was “Sweet 16” (her words) and they married two years later, moving to Louisiana while Dewey completed his stint in the US Air Force. They then moved to Levittown, PA where they welcomed their daughter, Sharon, in 1964, and their daughter, Jill, in 1967, and moved to Yardley where Merry lived the rest of her life. Merry loved life in Yardley – walks on the towpath, ice skating on Afton Pond, watching seasons change along the Delaware, witnessing “George Washington” cross the river on Christmas morning, eating pizza at DeLorenzo’s in Trenton, playing tennis at the Pennsbury Racquet Club, and rounds of golf at Oxford Valley Public Golf Course. Merry’s neighbors on Wendover Road became lifelong friends.
At the age of 34, she went back to school and graduated with honors from The College of New Jersey in 1978 with a BA in English. She took pleasure in work outside the home, becoming a travel agent and then teaching English at Ewing and Steinert high schools before regularly substitute teaching for the Pennsbury School District. Upon Merry's retirement, many of Merry's students told her English was their favorite class because Merry made studying the American classics fun.
Merry and Dewey spent their early family years cultivating the lifetime friendships they made through Dewey’s work and his years coaching his daughters’ softball teams while Merry carefully kept score and cheered. Vacationing in Cape Cod (back when you could walk on the dunes) with their dear friends was a yearly highlight. Merry adored entertaining, cooking, gardening (she had a beautiful rose garden), and her family's membership in Operation Friendship, an international exchange program.
Tragically, Merry’s daughter Jill died in July, 1982 from an undiagnosed heart condition. Merry survived this tragedy by finding consolation in her faith in God and leaning on the support of family and friends along with the community she and Dewey found in Compassionate Friends. Merry believed in the redeeming power of God’s love and grace. She belonged to Woodside Presbyterian Church for many years; in her later years, Merry and Dewey attended Unitarian Universalist Church of Washington’s Crossing.
Merry spent her empty nest years traveling overseas with Dewey alone (their romance never faded) and with other couples from their close-knit circle of friends. This circle of friends hosted many parties and created many special traditions to accompany them. Merry always had an event she was anticipating (and having to buy an outfit for.) During this time, she and Dewey also traveled to wherever Sharon and her husband, James, lived, and she delighted in exploring Washington, DC, Westfield, NJ, Chicago, and Overland Park, KS with them. When Merry’s three grandchildren – first Andy, then Georgia, and then Lily - arrived on the scene, Merry had the great fortune of living close by, and then living with them. Merry watched all three grow up and become successful young adults – attending every recital, ballet, award ceremony, play, soccer game, T-ball game, graduation – and creating special memories with each.
The last few years found Merry fighting her spine’s failure to cooperate with her verve for action. Nevertheless, with her customary bravery, she continued to embrace life: weekly day-long visits with her beloved sister, Jan, and her husband, Errol, cheering on the Eagles and Phillies (every game), Canasta on Friday, movie matinees with Dewey and her right-hand Jebbeh, neighborhood sing-a-longs, nightly family dinners, birthday celebrations with life-long neighbors (and cake from Cramer’s), playing along with Jeopardycontestants, and, of course, visits from her grandchildren.
Merry spent a lifetime showing love through acts of kindness to her friends and family, as well as our larger community. Her many acts of service include volunteering as a Jaycee, leading Sharon’s Brownie troop, serving food at The Lord’s Table, guiding tours (in costume) at Pennsbury Manor, and tutoring struggling students. Merry took citizenship seriously and never missed a vote. Deeply committed to democratic values and Democratic candidates, Merry canvassed and manned phone banks for her favored candidates.
A lifelong bibliophile, Merry juggled three book clubs. Always intellectually curious, she never stopped studying whatever topic caught her eye. Along with photos of her travels, her scrapbooks contain meticulous notes about each place she visited. She loved museums and plays – local theater to Broadway – and opera. She took immense pleasure in her sister Jan’s art (paintings by Jan surrounded Merry throughout her life) and delighted in observing her sister’s creativity at work. Merry always looked forward to attending Jan’s yearly themed family Easter party and discovering the Easter piñata Jan created every year.
True to her name, Merry always made us laugh with funny self-effacing stories. She remained sweetly ingenuous throughout her life. She made everything she touched beautiful. She will be greatly missed.
Predeceased by her parents, Marjorie and Marion Veenstra; and her beloved daughter, Jill Greig Terry; she is survived by her husband George Dewey Terry Jr. of Yardley, PA; her daughter Sharon Lee and her husband James David, Moon also of Yardley, PA; her grandson Andrew Greig Moon of Brooklyn, NY; her granddaughter Georgia Jill Moon of Nashville, TN; her granddaughter Lily May Moon of Decatur, GA; her sister Jan and her husband Errol, Lawrence of Pemberton, NJ; and her brother-in-law Roy and his wife Delores, Terry of Whiting, NJ. She is also survived by her many nieces and nephews, grandnieces and grandnephews, Sharon’s in-laws, life-long neighbors, and cherished friends.
Calling hours for family and friends will be held on Saturday, November 25th, 2023, from 10:00 am to noon at FitzGerald-Sommer Funeral Home at 17 South Delaware Avenue, Yardley, PA 19067. A Funeral Service to follow promptly at noon.
In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made in Merry’s name to ProPublica at https://give.propublica.org/give/346423/%23!/donation/checkout#!/donation/checkout or the Southern Poverty Law Center at https://www.splcenter.org/. If you’d like to share the legacy giving with Merry’s family, please use Sharon’s email, email@example.com, for notification.