Former mayor, war veteran passes away at age 94
After 70 years of marriage and a "very good life," an emotional Phyllis Mercer acknowledged today that carrying on without her husband will be very difficult.
© Photo by Terry Roberts/The Compass
The late George Mercer is pictured here with his wife of 70 years, Phyllis (French). This photo was taken just prior to Remembrance Day in November 2011.
"He was the very best. I couldn't have wished for any better," Phyllis said of her husband, former Bay Roberts mayor and Second World War veteran George Mercer.
George passed away on Thursday, Feb. 27 after receiving hospital care in Carbonear and St. John's for the past number of weeks. He turned 94 on Jan. 11.
George was a longtime businessman, having owned and operated a service station for many years, and was well known for his many volunteer pursuits with organizations like the Royal Canadian Legion and the Bay Roberts Lions Club.
He served as mayor of Bay Roberts from 1973 to 1981.
His wartime service in the Royal Navy is also quite notable.
George was a crewmember onboard the HMS Rodney, a Royal Navy battleship, during the famous battle that included the sinking of the vaunted German ship, Bismark, in the spring of 1941.
Earlier in the battle, the Bismark had sunk the HMS Hood, the pride of the British navy, killing all but three of her more than 1,400 crewmembers.
During an interview with The Compass in November 2011, George recalled seeing the Bismark, far on the horizon, and the sense of shock that everyone felt at the loss of the Hood.
"We were very lucky," he said at the time.
He met Phyllis (French) after his wartime service, and they were married on March 8, 1944. They raised five children — Shirley, Calvin, Neil, Sandra and Philip.
Phyllis said her husband was a wonderful man, and she will miss him dearly. She said he suffered during his final days, and is now at peace.
She said he leaves a legacy of community service that he was quite proud of.
"He was into everything. He put the pavement on Coley's Point when he was mayor. His name is there on the corner.
"He helped everybody he could help. I says he was a good man and it's not only me who says that."
A funeral service is planned for Grace United Church in Coley's Point at 2 p.m. on Monday, March 3.
Note: to read a feature story on George Mercer published by The Compass in November 2011, click here