Charles David Mercer: 1929-2018

Sep 12, 2018

Charles David Mercer, MBA, PhD, loving husband and father of five children, passed away at the age of 89 in Edmonds, Washington. He is deeply missed.

Charles David was born in San Antonio, Texas, to Chauncey and Margaret Mercer. When his parents separated, his mother relocated to the Los Angeles area where Charles David attended Catholic Schools taught by nuns.

After his school hours, he worked additional hours at local retail stores to help his mother care for his younger brothers. People often commented on his infectious laughter and ready willingness to ness to help – both became remarkable traits he was known for during his entire life.

Upon graduating from high school, Charles David traveled to Northern California, starting junior college in Santa Rosa, California. There he met his first wife, Jean. He was 21 years old when they married, and they were due with their first of five children when he was drafted and sent to South Korea. His empathy for people helped him develop trusting and valuable connections in South Korea that influenced him throughout his life.

Charles David had a lifelong love for learning and the genius to excel at it. When he returned from South Korea, he was accepted at UC California at Berkeley to study civil engineering. He received his degree and put it to work on many community projects – including the design and supervision of the construction of the California Bay Area Rapid Transit.

He was innovative in his approach and dedicated to enriching the community around him with any projects he undertook.

These young years exacted a toll on Charles David’s marriage. It ended in divorce in 1967. He became a member of Berkeley’s Folk Dance Group and discovered a passion for folk dancing.  Combined with his laugh and deeply compassionate nature, it was a true match. And fortuitously, he met a young German woman, Barbara, who also loved to dance!

They were married that year, 1969, in Hann.Munden, Germany, Barbara’s beloved home town, with many of her friends by their side.

The two spent years together in Berkeley at the University studying and researching. Charles David received his PhD in engineering and business during this time. He also worked hard on realizing a lifelong vision of his – to eliminate poverty from the world. He was a dedicated researcher, spending hours each day on meticulous research to actualize his dream.

Both Barbara and Charles David had a deep love for the outdoors and they decided to relocate, moving from the Bay Area to Edmonds, Washington, which reminded Barbara of growing up in Germany. In Edmonds, they were able to combine their love for the outdoors and their passion for dancing with the highly regarded artistry of Barbara and Charles David’s continued research.

Charles David gave his love to all those who crossed his path. And his compassion and understanding brought all of us a little closer. Phyllis Hollenbeck, his doctor, remarked once, “Charles is fascinating and brilliant and one of a kind that God only makes in limited quantities.” We couldn’t agree more. His laughter, along with those twinkling blue eyes will be missed and treasured forever.

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