Winchester Press – obit – Sybil Merkley

Sybil Merkley

Sybil Merkley, a lifetime resident of the area,passed away at the Winchester District Memorial Hospital on Wed.,Dec. 17, 2008. She was 88.
She was born Sybil Gertrude Black on Dec. 28, 1919, one of sevendaughters and four sons raised on the family farm in Mountainby their parents Harold and Mabel Black.
Family members characterize Sybil as a loving, caring and supportingwoman with a big heart. Large hearted and generous, she was areal “people person”. These are just some of the waysthat Sybil’s upbringing ultimately manifested itself. Growingup and learning to work on a farm has given many a young personan excellent start in this world.
It was no wonder then, that she eventually married a farmer herself.Sybil and Walter Clayton Merkley were married in 1938. He wasabout nine years older than she was and a confirmed Lutheran since1929.
She joined St. Luke’s Lutheran Church of Dunbar in 1940 as anadult member, taking an active part in the life of the congregationand serving as a member of church council.
Sybil and Walter looked after a small dairy herd, milking by hand,besides looking after a couple of horses, some pigs, and a fewchickens. She kept her own garden, and canned her own vegetablesand jams. She enjoyed baking, cooking, sewing her own clothes,and visiting, whether it was in person or on the phone.
Although she never had any children of her own, she fulfilledthe role of mother on more than one occasion. In 1948, when hersister Mona was confined to a hospital while recovering from tuberculosis,she took Lynda, her five-month-old niece, and raised her for thenext six years. From the age of six onwards, Lynda would returnto Walter and Sybil’s home every weekend for a visit. For manyreasons, Lynda has always thought of Sybil as her second mother.There are fond memories of those Saturday nights when the threeof them would gather around the TV set with some hot butteredpopcorn to watch the Lawrence Welk Show and then, to top it alloff, Hockey Night In Canada. They were all Leafs fans back then,even though Sybil started cheering for the Senators in later years.
Between 1957 and 1960, following the sudden death of her sister-in-law,Norma Black, Sybil brought Norma’s daughter, Debbie, over to thefarm and helped raise her for three or four years.
After Walter passed away in 1983, Sybil stayed on the farm fortwo or three more years before moving to the Millview Apartmentsin Winchester. Over the years there, she has made many friends.She will be sadly missed by her neighbours, especially Edna, Marie,and Jake, who visited her regularly.
She is survived by her daughter Lynda Marcell of Kemptville, andher siblings Sheila (Joe) Hopkins of Spencerville, and Garry Black(Louella Smail) of Morrisburg. She was predeceased by sistersAlice Casselman, Audrey McGowan, Mona Marcell, Frances Hogg, EdnaBrown, and brothers Norman, Bert, and Gerald Black. She is alsosurvived by nieces and nephews.
Friends called at the Marsden and McLaughlin Funeral Home in Williamsburgon Fri. from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 pm. The funeral service was heldat the funeral home on Sat., Dec. 20 at 11 am with Rev. JoachimBarkley-Probst officiating., followed by interment at Maple RidgeCemetery in Chesterville. The pallbearers were Garry Black, RichardHess, Oswald Linton, Lyle Smith, Ray Dillabough, and Wayne Barkley.
Donations to Winchester District Memorial Hospital or St. Luke’sLutheran Church would be appreciated by the family.