In Memoriam: Longtime Rumsonite, Volunteer, Barbara Lawes Mercer, 91

Longtime Rumsonite, Barbara Lawes Mercer, passed away peacefully at home on May 4. She was 91.

The woman everyone knew as the 67-year “beloved wife of Henry D. Mercer, Jr., loving mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, sister, aunt, friend and adored daughter of Donald E. and Bessie B. Lawes,” was born on February 18, 1931 in Long Branch. She was raised in Little Silver and was a graduate of Markham Place School, Vail-Deane School, and Marjorie Webster Junior College. Upon college graduation, Barbara became an elementary school teacher.

A lifelong resident of Monmouth County, Barbara married Dick, “the love of her life,” in 1955 when the couple moved to Rumson.

She was a dedicated member of the Public Health Nursing Association in the 1950s and 1960s, an involved parishioner at St. George’s By-the River Church in Rumson, and a parent volunteer at the Rumson Country Day School.

Barbara Lawes Mercer
Photo/family via Thompson Memorial Home

“Barbara was also an active member of the Rumson Country Club where she played golf and platform tennis. She crewed for her husband, Dick, in the Arrow Class at the Rumson Yacht Club. Her husband named his sailboat “Bobsie” after her. She was a strong supporter of junior sailing and all her children’s and grandchildren’s pursuits. Barbara loved to swim: the pool and ocean at Sea Bright Beach Club were favorite spots.

Among Barbara’s most passionate hobbies was gardening; her rose and dahlia gardens brought great joy to her life. Barbara was also an avid reader and loved attending Broadway shows in New York City. Of all her varied talents, her greatest was as a musician. Barbara was a gifted pianist who played songs by ear; she continued to play her favorite show tunes until the end of her life. The Mercer household was filled with music and Barbara was often called upon to entertain friends at parties. She also loved to dance with her favorite dance partner, Dick.
Barbara’s family was always most important to her. Her devotion to family, inner strength, and resilience leaves an indelible legacy.”

Loved ones of Barbara Lawes Mercer in her obituary

She was predeceased by: her parents; her brother Donald E. Lawes, Jr.; and son, Andrew W. Mercer.

She is survived by: her husband; three children, Henry D. Mercer III and his wife Joan, of Locust, Deborah Mercer Ribas, of Westwood, MA, and Marilyn M. Bell, and husband Charles, of Colts Neck; grandchildren, Dickson, Sarah, Anna, William, Elizabeth, and Matthew; great- grandchildren, Henry, Hope, and Eloise; sister-in-law, Eleanor Lawes; brother-in-law, Douglas D Mercer; and eleven nieces and nephews.

Thompson Memorial Home in Red Bank, is entrusted with the arrangements. Funeral services will be private.