Meridian Star

April 29, 2013

Virginia Land Merrell

The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     Funeral services for Virginia Land Merrell will be held Tuesday at 2 p.m. at Rose Hill Methodist Church in Rose Hill. Burial will be in Green Valley Cemetery.

    Mrs. Merrell was born in Bay Springs on March 11, 1911 to James Richard and Clementine Lewis, Mrs. Merrell, the youngest of seven siblings. She went to be with the Lord on Saturday at the age of 102.

    She grew up in the Bay Springs area in Jasper County. She showed a talent for music at an early age, starting on the piano. She not only read music but also played by ear, entertaining family and friends all her life. While a student at Mississippi State Teacher's College (now University of Southern Mississippi) she played saxophone in the marching band. In later years, Virginia encouraged her children to love music through the piano, violin, and singing.

    Virginia married Harvey Green Merrell of Rose Hill on June 24, 1934. They were married for 65 years until his death in 1999. She is survived by three children, Bob Merrell and wife Christiane, Slidell, La.; Evelyn Swalm and husband Sherman, Brookhaven; and Jan McMurry and husband Julian of College Station, Texas; six grandchildren, Robyn Tucker (James) Major Glen Merrell (Susan) Cmdr. Teague Swalm (Carolina) Lynne Donchez (Lt. Col. John) Meagan McMurry, Devin McMurry, and eight great grandchildren, Tyler and Xan Tucker; Bryn and Camden Merrell; Keano and Maya Swalm; and Cole and Gavin Donchez.

    After their marriage in 1934, Virginia and Harvey lived in Forrest where they both taught school. After the war, they came back to Rose Hill for a short time. Harvey went to work for American Oil Company and they lived in Birmingham, then Jackson, where they lived for 10 years before settling in Grenada.

    In addition to being a devoted mother and wife, Virginia was involved in many activities in her communities. While in Jackson she was president of the PTA of several schools over the years, captain of the Mother's March of Dimes, president of the Junior Symphony Orchestra, and Garden Club president in Jackson and Grenada. She was a member and president of the Grenada Twentieth Century Club where she presented many reviews of literary works and was active in the DAR. Virginia was a hostess for the Natchez Pilgrimage Club's historic Rosalee Plantation Home, wearing the antebellum dress of the family. She loved swimming and even tried water skiing.

    She was an excellent seamstress and avid chronicler of family genealogy as well as her and Harvey's retirement travels to Europe, China, Japan, South America, Canada, the Caribbean, and many places in the states.

    Family vacations were usually two week trips every year to places such as Florida, the western states, national parks, Washington D.C. and the northeast. They loved to take the grandchildren on trips. Virginia and Harvey had many friends of all ages all over the world with whom they corresponded, visited and traveled with all their lives.

    Virginia was active in her church in Jackson, Broadmeadow Methodist, and the United Methodist Church of Grenada. She was presented an honorary lifetime membership in the women's UMC group in Grenada. She was a Bible study leader for years and played the piano at various churches for many years. A couple of years after Harvey's death, Virginia moved to Brookhaven to be closer to her children. In 2011 she celebrated her 100th birthday with a large number of family and friends.

    Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Brookhaven Funeral Home.