Joan Mercer-McPherson, Served as a Nurse, Was a Kind and Compassionate Soul

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 02/06/2019 - 13:26

Joan Mercer-McPherson, 84, of Saline, lived a life full of grace, wit, and compassion before passing away peacefully Feb. 4, 2019.  She was born Hannah Siobahn “Joanie” Corridan on January 13, 1935, in Duagh, County Kerry, Ireland, to John and Rose (Lane) Corridan. The youngest of seven siblings, she grew up on the family farm in Ireland until she left home seeking education, work, and adventure, pursuits she valued throughout her life.

Sailing across the Irish Sea to London, England, in 1953, Joan earned her RN at the Whipps Cross Hospital Training School for Nurses, starting a career that spanned over 40 years and two continents, including a stint as a midwife. In 1958, she crossed the Atlantic, arrived at Ellis Island in New York, and eventually settled in Detroit, where she continued her nursing career at Detroit’s Sinai Hospital until she started a family.

On Feb. 4, 1961, Joan married her first true love Nelson M. Mercer in Detroit, and together they had four children, Kathleen, Nelson, Paul, and Linda. They moved to Saline, in 1976, but her husband Nelson’s untimely death in 1977 made Joan a young widow and single parent. Returning to her nursing career at that time, she first worked at Beyer Hospital in Ypsilanti, and then at the University of Michigan Hospital in Ann Arbor, where she remained a dedicated floor nurse until her retirement in 2000. In everything she did, Joan worked tirelessly, and was a beautiful, kind, gentle, and compassionate soul who had a smile for everyone. Her laugh was infectious, and she could always be counted on for a cup of tea, some cookies, and her wry sense of humor.

Most people are lucky to find one true love in a lifetime, but Joan found two. John McPherson caught Joan’s twinkling blue eyes, and they were married by Fr. Jim McDougall on July 15, 1995, at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Saline, where they remained active members. With their combined families, they had eight grown children, 19 grandchildren, and 15 great-grandchildren. John and Joan took frequent road trips and travelled all over the United States, Canada, and Ireland together. They spent many years of their retirement enjoying the outdoors, camping, taking walks, riding bikes, canoeing, tending their garden, and doting on each other. They loved spending time with family and delighted in their grandchildren. For the last several years, John was a devoted caregiver to Joan as she battled dementia, and their true love for each other was beautiful to behold for all who witnessed it. Joan’s family is also grateful for the loving care she received in her last months at Brookdale Memory Care in Ann Arbor. 

In addition to her first husband, Nelson, Joan was preceded in death by her brothers, James and Sean Corridan of Abbeyfeale and Listowel, Ireland; her sister, Sr. Helena Corridan, of Johannesburg, South Africa; and her brother, Ned Corridan, of Vancouver, BC, Canada. 

Joan leaves behind her loving husband, John, of Saline; daughter Kathleen Marsden of Canton; son Nelson Mercer and his wife Cindy; son Paul Mercer; and daughter Linda Learman and her husband, Stan, all of Saline; stepson Jeff McPherson and stepdaughter Janet Oblinger, as well as grandchildren Rachel and Daniel Marsden, Somerleigh and Acadia Mercer, Leia Vaughn, Jodi Hepler, Devon Mercer, and Joseph and Colin Learman. She is also survived by her sister Eileen Mallon of Royal Oak, and her brother Tim (Philomena) Corridan of Scotland; many in-laws, nieces and nephews. All of us will miss her deeply, but our lives have been richly blessed for having her in it. Until we meet again, Bail o’ Dhia ort/the blessing of God on you.

Mass of Christian burial will take place at St. Andrew’s Catholic Church in Saline on Friday, February 8th, 2019, at 10:30 am with Fr. Jim McDougall officiating.  Visitation begins at 9:30 am in the church, followed by mass and a luncheon in the parish hall. The family suggests any donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, the March of Dimes, or Arbor Hospice.

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