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Dorothy (Dot) Virginia Merchant

Jul 3, 2013

Dorothy (Dot) Virginia Merchant

Dorothy (Dot) Virginia Merchant, 91, passed away peacefully on Saturday, June 22, 2013, at the Gulf Coast Village in Cape Coral.

She was born in Wilmington, Mass., Oct. 1, 1921. She was the daughter of Dorothy Bernard Smith and Clifford Henry Smith and grew up in New England. She was a graduate of Smith College with a degree in zoology. She later acquired a master’s in education at the University of Pittsburg. She worked with Fred Rogers on a children’s program on WQED TV as “Mrs. Zoo,” which was great fun for her.

She taught elementary school for 30 years and was especially gifted in helping children learn to read.

She was married to the late Dr. William R. Merchant for 60 years. They were able to enjoy being retired together for 20 of those years in Bayfield, Wis., and Bradenton, Fla.

She loved her cottage on Lake Superior and spent many happy summers there. She was active in Christ Episcopal Church and the Bayfield Historical Society. She also enjoyed living in Bradenton, and was active in the Christ Episcopal Church and the Daughters of the King. Her passions were doing volunteer work, reading, traveling and observing wildlife. She had an amazing ability to identify a great variety of plants and birds.

She was a loving mother survived by her four children, Gail Vogel of Reston, Va., Ginny Payne (Winston) of Asheville, N.C., William Merchant (Susie) of Cape Coral and Dorothy Christenson (Tim Gibneski) of McFarland, Wis. Also surviving are six grandchildren, Rich Vogel of Reston, Va., Alyson Robinson (Michael) of Bethesda, Md., Bruce Christenson (Heather) of Hillsboro, Ore., Lauren Payne of San Diego, Calif., Derek Payne (Leslie) of Raleigh, N.C., and Christine Merchant of Orlando. There are also five great-grandchildren, Lily and Justin Vogel, Thomas and Caitlyn Robinson, and Charles Payne.

The family requests that memorial donations be made to the Alzheimer’s Association, P.O. Box 96011, Washington, DC 20090-6011; the Bayfield Library, 37 North Broad Street, Bayfield, WI 54814; or the Christ Episcopal Church, 125 North Third Street, Bayfield, WI 54814.

The family wishes to extend its gratitude to the staff at Gulf Coast Village for her wonderful care.

A Memorial Service will be held at Christ Episcopal Church in Bayfield, Wis., September 22, 2013.