Roy Gardner Mercer
Roy Mercer, a longtime resident of Milwaukee's East Side, passed away peacefully at Zilber Family Hospice on October 19, 2021. He will be deeply missed by his children, brother, and his many friends across the U.S. and Canada.
Roy grew up in West Orange, New Jersey. An Eagle Scout and a born adventurer, he was known for bringing home snakes that he had captured (much to the chagrin of his mother) and, unbeknownst to his parents, hauling his shoe-shine kit onto the NYC subway system and selling shoeshines for 10 cents apiece.
At age 19 he joined the US Navy, serving 8 years as a naval aviator. Roy was stationed at various bases, but talked most about his years based in Naples, Italy, where he had a villa on the sea. He also had an Aston Martin and a very large Mastiff and enjoyed driving around town with the giant dog sitting shotgun in his small convertible.
After his honorable discharge from the Navy, Roy returned back to the NYC area and started a career in hospital administration at NYU Medical Center. In the late 1970s Roy found a new opportunity as Director of Human Resources at Milwaukee Children's Hospital and moved to Milwaukee with his wife Patricia and children Brenda and Geoffrey. Daughter Hilary was born here in 1980. Thus, Roy's connection to Wisconsin started and would last nearly 45 years, mostly on the East Side of Milwaukee. Roy would also go on to work at the Milwaukee Indian Health Center and later Northwest General Hospital.
Roy came to truly love Wisconsin – the people, the climate (he loved snow and storms of any kind – the stronger the better), and the nature. He made friends wherever he went and had a story for every occasion. Roy and Pat both loved hosting parties – like his famous Chinese dinner parties (which he would mostly miss seeing, as he was in the kitchen), and the annual Ye Olde Wassail Parties. They regularly opened their home to exchange students, bicycle racers, and friends new and old.
Roy was an avid cross-country skier, canoer, and sailor, and loved fishing, camping, and just generally traveling. He deeply valued the many friends from Bridge Club, Avenue Road, East Side Men's breakfast club, New York Whitewater Canoe Club, and so many more.
In his later years, Roy volunteered at the Bong State Recreation Area in southern WI, became certified as an amateur storm chaser and ham radio operator, and enjoyed documenting any and all wildlife that ventured near the Twin Lakes cabin where he lived for the last 5 years with his rescue pup Dottie.
Roy will be laid to rest in Sarnia, Ontario, alongside his dearly-missed wife Patricia, who passed in 2002. Survived by James and Nila Mercer, Brenda Mercer, Geoffrey Mercer and Valentina Gretsova, Hilary Mercer, Valerie Demetros, Julie Mercer Stefanski, Glenn Mercer, and Irene Mercer.
Visitation and viewing will be held for Roy on Wednesday, October 27, 2021 from 3pm until the time of services at 4pm, all at Plymouth Church United Church of Christ, 2717 E. Hampshire St. Milwaukee, WI 53211.
Memorial Donations to Alive Rescue (https://aliverescue.salsalabs.org/memorials/index.html), Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (https://donatenow.networkforgood.org/Wisconservation), or a cause close to your heart will be warmly appreciated.
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