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1010 S. White Street
P.O. Box 99
ATHENS, TN 37371-0099
Phone: 423-745-3013
Fax: 423-745-7733
Merna Jaquish
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Obituary for Merna Jaquish (Swayne)

Athens, Tennessee—Merna Ruth Swayne Jaquish, age 83, passed away from complications of cancer on December 9, 2018.She was born July 8, 1935, to Allen and Ruth (Mitchell) Swayne in Evelyth, MN. Her parents moved around the country with her father’s job in the U.S. Forest Service, so she spent time in MN and CA, and the bulk of her childhood was in east TN. She met her future husband, Michael Paul Jaquish, while they were both home in Etowah for the summer from college. After marrying on June 18, 1955, Mike was sent to England with the Army. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree from Tennessee Tech and joined her husband in England until they came home and he finished his degree at Tech.They raised two children in Tullahoma, Tennessee, Kathryn Lee Jaquish Engebretsen and Michael Allen Jaquish.
Merna finished her Master’s degree in education at Middle Tennessee State University and taught in 6th grade in Manchester, TN. She was also the assistant principal. Merna was an active member of her church and her community, in every place she lived, including UT, AL, GA, and TN. She participated in a bridge club, learned to play the dulcimer,and performed with an ensemble in Athens. She was a regular library volunteer andreceived the Athens City Council VIVID award for volunteering. She was a member of theRed Hat Society and a board member of the Southeast Tennessee Area Agency on Aging and Disability.
Merna helped her parents build a cabin on Lake Ocoee in the Cherokee National Forest. For the next 60 years, generations of Swayne and Jaquish family members enjoyed swimming, canoeing, water skiing, crossword puzzles, and Scrabble at that cabin. Merna was incredibly musical—playing the piano, learning the dulcimer, and singing in her church choir. She had a song for everything, and one game in particular (Encore!) was a family favorite, with folks vying to have Merna on their team.
Merna is survived by her husband of 63 years, Michael Paul Jaquish of Athens, TN; brother, Doug (Shirley) Swayne of Etowah, TN; sister, Sonia Williams of Asheville, NC;her son Michael (Sara) Jaquish of Riceville, TN; her eightgrandchildren: Darrell Franklin, Holly Hampton, Amber Bradner, Amy (Larry) Mockridge, Kristen Engebretsen,Michael (Michelle) Engebretsen, Samuel (Linda) Engebretsen and Charles Engebretsen. She is also survived by 15 great-grandchildren: Ashlyn and Kailey Franklin; Isaac, Isabelle, and Indigo Hampton; Tristan and Amberlin Bradner; Mercedes, Chandler, and Katelynn Blad; Ethan, Logan, and Xander Mockridge; Sofia Ayala; Lily Engebretsen;and one great-great grandson, Kyle Greyson Nye. She is also survived by her sister-in-law Becky Jaquish and her brother-in-law Pat (Brenda) Jaquish. She is blessed with a large and close-knit extended family of cousins, aunts, uncles, nieces, and nephews across the United States. Merna was preceded in death by her parents, Allen and Ruth Swayne of Etowah, TN; her daughter and son-in-law Kathryn and Harold Engebretsen of St. George, UT; and two brothers-in-law: Joe Jaquish and Bill Williams. Her family takes comfort at this time with the truism of which Merna always reminded them: “This too shall pass.”
Smith Funeral Home is handling the funeral arrangements: Her memorial will be held Saturday, December15, 2018,with a serviceat11 AM, and a celebration of lifefrom 12-2 PM at the Mars Hill Presbyterian Church, located at 205 N Jackson St, Athens,TN 37303. She will be buried at the National Cemetery in Chattanooga, TN on Monday, December 17, 2018, at 11 am. Donations in her memory can be made to the American Cancer Society or the Mars Hill Presbyterian Church

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