We regret to announce the passing of beloved member of the community Merle Bessie Carter on August 16, 2021 at 9pm from heart failure. She joins her beloved husband Leland “Jack” Carter who passed August 6, 2007.
Born April 4, 1929, this wonderful spitfire of a woman spent her early years in Peoria, Illinois, helping her mother with every little crafting project that she'd let her and watching over her nieces and nephews. All through secondary school, she spent her free time painting with her best friends, many of whom would become her sisters-in-law, but that's a story for later.
She took an unusual route, though, upon graduation and entered the workforce, working as a messenger delivery woman for industrial equipment giant Caterpillar. Seeing this tiny woman rushing past equipment and racing up stairs with her skirts billowing behind her in her haste, one executive feared for her safety and gave special written permission for a tailor to fashion some pants, especially for her. In this way, Merle was a trailblazer, much like her mother, wearing pants long before it was acceptable for women to do so in polite society.
Merle B, as she was affectionately called by friends, was not looking for a husband when her best friends began to plot a match for her. They began asking their oldest brother Leland "Jack" Carter to drive them to beautiful places so that they might all try their hand at landscape painting. They'd given him strict instructions to keep is words short during these trips, as Merle B had been so often unimpressed with men's attempts to win her affections. This was easy for the stoic man. And, as they spent more time together, a deep fondness grew between them. Until, one day, the friends, having opened a photography studio, asked Merle to borrow a fine dress from one of her sisters and to let them practice their craft on her. Showing up in the most beautiful blue dress, she was utterly surprised, when the photo shoot finished and Jack emerged, all dressed up, asking her out to ice cream.
Their love story led them to marriage on April 8, 1951 in Peoria, growing a beautiful family, and eventually carried them to Florissant, Colorado in 1996, fulfilling a decades long dream to retire in Teller County. There, Merle, Jack, and daughter Debbie built a life and integrated themselves deeply into the wonderful community they found here. Touching lives through her deep investment in her church, crocheting blankets for each baby she had the pleasure to hear about, and being the brightest spot of joy walking through the grocery store, Merle had a gift for inspiring laughter, gratitude, and even song.
She loved to tell people that anyone can sing and that she was the proof of it. Told she had a terrible voice in her youth, she overcame that disappointment as an adult, developing a beautiful alto that she would demonstrate any chance she got. Undeterred by social convention, she would often get a group of strangers singing hymns together, whether in stores, parks, or hospitals.
We hope you will join us in honoring her legacy by remembering that anyone can sing, even you, and that there is no better time to sing than right now.
Merle leaves behind son, Leland (with wife Karen), and daughter, Debbie, grandchildren David, Carol, Steven (with wife Barbara) and Christine, great-grandchildren Ember and Rowan. In addition, she is survived by sisters Vesta and Violet, and sisters-in-law Judy, and Barbara,
As well as her entire, beloved family in Christ at Little Chapel of the Hills and surrounding area.
Services to be held on Saturday, August 21, 2021 at 10:30am at Little Chapel of the Hills 69 CR 5 in Divide, CO 80814.
To send flowers to the family or plant a tree in memory of Merle Bessie Carter, please visit our floral store.