Florrie Smythe Mercer

May 16, 2014

DURHAM — Florrie Smythe Mercer, 93, a resident of Croasdaile Village, Durham, died May 13, 2014. Mrs. Mercer was born Feb. 23, 1921, and was the daughter of Floyd Ira Smythe and Velma McManus Smythe, of Fort Mill, South Carolina.

She is survived by the Rev. Dr. Charles H. Mercer, her husband of 70 years; their two children, Mary Smythe Mercer, of Raleigh, and Charles H. Mercer Jr. and wife, Alene, also of Raleigh; and three grandchildren, Allison Mercer Maslow, and husband, Nick, of Raleigh, Charles H.

Mercer III, of Raleigh, and Daniel Lee Mercer, also of Raleigh. She is also survived by a sister, Sara Belle Smythe Scott, and brother, Thomas I. Smythe, both of Fort Mill, South Carolina.

Florrie entered the University of Alabama at the age of 16. After two years, she transferred to Duke University, where she graduated with a Bachelor of Science in nursing in 1942. While at Duke, Florrie met Charles, a student at Duke Divinity School. They were married Aug. 27, 1943, and enjoyed a marriage of 70 years.

Through the 59 years that her husband served as a United Methodist pastor in North Carolina, Florrie was an integral part of that ministry. She was a faithful and dedicated volunteer in the churches that Charles served, with her greatest interest being her work with young people through the United Methodist Youth Fellowship and other ministries. She worked in the local church, served as an adult leader at youth assemblies and camps sponsored by the United Methodist Church, and organized many events and trips for junior high and high school students.

In 1988, Charles and Florrie moved to Lake Junaluska where Charles served as the pastor of Fincher's Chapel United Methodist Church and Mt. Zion United Methodist Church. Florrie became an active leader in Andean Rural Health Care, where she worked with their mission program to help meet health needs of rural people in Bolivia. She participated in mission trips to Bolivia to work directly with the people and understand their medical needs.

In 1996, Florrie was awarded the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service. In 1997, the town of Montero, Bolivia, declared May 9 as Florrie S. Mercer Day in honor of her medical mission work and ministry.

A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 31, at the William Preston Few Chapel, located at 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway, Durham, with visitation to follow. Private interment for family members will be at the Regan United Methodist Church in Lumberton.

In lieu of flowers, contributions can be sent to the Croasdaile Village Benevolent Fund, 2600 Croasdaile Farm Parkway, Durham, NC 27705, or the Charles and Florrie Mercer Endowed Scholarship Fund at Duke University Divinity School, Office of External Relations, Duke Divinity School, Box 90966, Durham, NC 27708.

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