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Merrily Watters Thomas All Obituaries

Flat Rock, N.C.
Gainesville, Va.

Merrily Watters Thomas, 84, of Flat Rock, N.C., and Gainesville, Via., passed
away at home on New Year's Day after a short battle with brain cancer. She was a loving wife, mother and grandmother, and a friend to many.
She born in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, in 1936. Merrily's youth was forever transformed by the time she spent with her grandparents in Atalissa, where she learned the values and pleasures of life on a farm with draft horses and an outhouse. Merrily attended Cedar Rapid's Polk School and Franklin High School. For the last two decades, she compiled an annual newsletter that revived and cemented connections among the Franklin High School Class of 1954. After earning her bachelor's degree at Lawrence College, Merrily taught school in Chicago and Cedar Rapids and worked at the American Red Cross in Washington, D.C., before marrying. After her children began their education, she worked at Canterbury Woods Elementary School in Annandale, Va. She had a second career as a travel agent at Quality Travel Services in McLean, Va.
Merrily nurtured lifelong loves for travel, dancing, reading and walking. She spent a high school summer in Nuremberg, Germany, with the American Field Service. After college, Merrily spent a summer dancing and studying in Hawaii. Later, she would develop a passion for folk and ballroom dancing. Over the course of her life, Merrily traveled to every continent except Antarctica. Her travels ranged from European and Asian capitals to the Australian outback, the mountains of Sierra Leone, the jungles of Guyana and a barge trip down the Mekong River. Her last major trips included a return to Nuremberg, Paris, with two grandchildren, Iceland with her daughter, and a final trip to England.
Merrily was preceded in death by her parents, Reginald and Fern Watters.
She is survived by her lifelong friend and husband of 58 years, David Thomas; her children, Michael Thomas (Phimchanok) and Stephanie Pierce (Scott); her grandchildren, Aldara Thomas, Thomas Brennan, Emma Brennan (Reed) and Thornton Thomas; her sister, Martha (Darrold); and her sister-in-law, Diana Bendorf (Henry).
Persons wishing to honor Merrily's memory may make a donation to their favorite charity. A celebration of Merrily's life will be held on a date yet to be determined.
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