IN LOVING MEMORY OF AUDREY MERLE It is
with great sadness that we have lost one of our longest and most cherished members, Audrey Merle, born July 31, 1925 and passed
very peacefully on Nov. 8, 2019, after being in hospice a short time. There is so much one can say about Audrey –
a gem of a person, never without a brilliant smile and joyous personality! Audrey had no printed obituary and was cremated,
her ashes being placed on her mother’s grave in W. VA (per her wishes). May these remarks tell you a little more
about her past from her dear cousin-in-law, Flo Russell.
Flo and her husband Michael came into contact with Audrey later in life. Audrey’s husband, Joe and Flo’s
husband were cousins. Joe and Audrey broke up and so they didn’t stay as close in contact then. Then Flo
and her husband began meeting Audrey at Papa Joe’s (great restaurant!) in Akron and Audrey would have them to dinner
at her apartment. After Joe passed, that side of the family drifted away so not a lot of relatives were attentive to
her. Flo and her hubby started having holiday dinners with Audrey, bringing in all the food and taking over her kitchen.
When Flo retired, she would get lunch and take it to Audrey every two weeks. She loved Arby’s!
Then Flo started taking one grandchild with her. Audrey
always had the table set with placemats and a pretty centerpiece, not flowers necessarily, but a nice knickknack the granddaughters
might take. She always had a gift for them, an ink pen or trinket that had come in the mail from a charity. She
asked questions of her little visitor and was always interested in what they had to say.
There was a bachelor in Audrey’s apartment building where she lived over 30 years.
He worked for the Beacon Journal and his name was Joe. Flo told Audrey she was so lucky – a lot of women don’t
find true love once in a lifetime and she found two – both named Joe! They shared dinners together and rented
movies. They also drove down to Shreve, OH, where Audrey was born, to visit her sister who she adored. Her sister
and Joe got along well, but both have passed now. Her closest relatives are her sister’s two sons – Mike
in W. VA, being the closest, who was in charge of her will and medical decisions. When Audrey had to go into a nursing
home, Mike chose one in Tallmadge near his brother, though this brother passed, and his widow remarried and moved away.
That’s why Flo moved Audrey to Brunswick, very close to her.
Audrey was friendly and feisty. She kept close ties with here Shreve friends, going to high school
reunions and keeping in touch with classmates. Up until her death, she still wrote or talked to her friends and she
remained in contact with several nurses she graduated with.
She went to Aultman College in Canton and graduated in 1947 as a nurse, in charge of the Emergency Rm.
Then in 1947 she contracted polio. She didn’t need an iron lung but required a brace. Audrey was awarded free
tuition to be an Army Nurse, but the war had ended. She went to Warm Springs, GA where FDR had been for rehabilitation.
Polio did not kill her nursing career. She married and became a housewife, and had no children, but after her divorce,
she worked as the Head Nurse for Goodwill. She worked there for 15 yrs. before retiring in 1990 at the age of 65.
She still went and visited Joe who she had been married to and they worked crossword puzzles together.
Audrey did not let polio define her life…she was independent
and very courageous. She used the wheelchair to run to her bank across the street from her apartment or the nearby library.
She drove a specially modified car until age and eyesight discouraged that. She took the bus to her medical appointments
and to the hairdresser once a week. She loved: entertaining, throwing dinner parties, reading the daily paper
every day, as well as doing the jumble and watching football and golf. She even conquered the computer and kept in touch
And once a nurse, always a nurse! She
expected good care in the nursing home and was vocal if she didn’t receive it. She was often astonished when aides
were ignorant about polio and couldn’t understand why she could not walk or stand. It was a blow to her when she
could no longer stay in her apartment.
We all know
she loved coming to our Akron Post-Polio Support Group meetings and all its parties and special events. She was a member
for many years and stayed very active, never missing a meeting. Special thanks to Tom & JoAnn Boggs who transported
her to our Picnic last summer – her last event to attend with us. We already planned to get her to our Christmas
Party, but now she is at peace and we are thankful for that. What an example she was for us all – to stay strong,
not whine or ever have a “poor me” attitude – she always persevered with a strong spirit and remained hopeful
and optimistic throughout her life. Flo offers her thanks to all our members for enriching her life! But really,
we are the ones whose lives were enriched by Audrey’s love and friendship. You are forever in our memory Audrey
in a way you couldn’t imagine! Audrey requested memorial donations in her memory be directed to our support group.