Carol E. Merchant, 89, of Madison, passed away Friday, July 23, 2021, at St. Catherine’s Village.
Carol Eileen Neward was born on September 17, 1931 in Detroit, MI to the late Frank L. and Teresa Funke Neward. She was the youngest of four children.
She was a 20-year-old nursing student when she was set up on a blind date with Leo Francis Merchant back in 1951. She said it wasn’t love at first sight, but she knew within months that this was the man she would marry.
Carol and Leo married on April 24, 1954, in Detroit, MI. They started a family right away and had seven children. During their married life, they resided in several states. From Michigan, to California, back to Michigan, to Indiana, and finally ending up in Mississippi; which they have called home for almost 50 years now.
Carol was a fabulous seamstress and an avid baker. She loved to make clothes for her children. She would always make the girls their Christmas and Easter dresses each year. Carol also loved to cook. Her children will tell you they didn’t get store-bought cookies growing up because Carol would make homemade cookies for them. They always got three homemade cookies in their lunch bag every day. Her well-known favorites were chocolate chip, snicker doodles, and sugar cookies. At Christmas and Easter, a family tradition was Carol making sugar cookies and the children decorating them with sprinkles at Christmas and jellybeans at Easter.
In later years Carol developed a love for making jewelry. She loved making pieces and giving them to her friends and family.
Carol loved to serve her community. She would volunteer at the hospitals, fostered babies for Catholic Charities, helped at various St. Richard’s Special Kids events, served in different capacities with her church and on church committees, assisted with RCIA classes, and served at the local Hospice facility.
For a petite woman of 5’4”, it is easy to say that her kind and generous heart was by far the largest thing on her. She was a true child of God and will be greatly missed.
Carol was predeceased by her parents Frank L Sr. and Teresa Neward, and her siblings Frank L Neward, Jr. (Amita), Rosemary Harwick (Don), and Lenore Sallwasser (Jim). She was also predeceased by her daughter-in-law Tammy Merchant.
Carol is survived by her loving husband of 67 years, Leo Francis; her seven children: Sally East (Tom) of Villa Hills, Kentucky, Peggy Jacobs (Pat) of Tomball, Texas, Paul Merchant of Greenwood, Julie Goforth (Kenny) of Madison, Anne Marie Bromley of Brandon, Mary York (Allen) of Madison, and Dawn Husbands (Tim) of Pearl; as well as her 14 grandchildren and 9 great grandchildren.