Merle Belcher

This obituary was edited to add Mrs. Belcher's sisters, one who survives her and two who died earlier.

COLUMBIA — Merle Belcher volunteered in the office of First Presbyterian Church every Friday. Between collating the Sunday bulletins and answering the phones, she brightened up the lives of the other workers with her stories and her gingersnap cookies.

“She was just always happy,” said Chrissy Jones, executive administrative assistant at the church. “She was easy to get along with and easy to talk to.

"We always looked forward to Fridays because we knew it would be a good day with Merle there.”

Merle Belcher died Monday, Dec. 13, 2010 in Jefferson City. She was 95.

She was born to Dr. Marcus Key and Flora (Hamm) Key on Dec. 6, 1915. She graduated from Enid Business College and attended Phillips University in Enid, Okla., where she met her future husband, A. Lee Belcher, who worked at Pillsbury Mills.

The couple moved to Astoria, Ore. They married in Portland, Ore. on March 20, 1938. In Oregon, Mrs. Belcher worked in the office of the Agricultural Experimental Station.

Between 1942 and 1967, the couple lived in Springfield, Ill.; Minneapolis, Minn.; and Claremont, Calif.

In 1967, Mrs. Belcher and her husband moved to Columbia, where he worked at MU. He died in 1999.

Mrs. Belcher remained in Columbia until 2008 when she moved to Jefferson City.

She is survived by a sister, Frances W. Lentz*; two daughters, Sharen Wixom and Janet Sudholt; a son, Gordon Belcher; five grandchildren; two step-grandsons; six great-grandchildren and five step-great-grandchildren.

Two sisters, Clarice Key and Allene Johnsey*, and a son, John Mark Belcher, died earlier.

Services will be held at 2:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 17 at Parker Funeral Service, 22 N. Tenth St. Visitation will be from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the funeral home.

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