Obituary for Suzanne Merkelbach (Palmer)
Suzanne Elizabeth Merkelbach (née Palmer) passed away Thursday, June 15th peacefully in her New Jersey home, under hospice care and surrounded by family, after a long fight with pancreatic cancer.
She formerly resided in Glen Ridge, NJ, Hamburg, NJ, and Murrells Inlet, SC.
She was born in Orange, NJ on November 12, 1937 to the late William and Barbara Palmer. She is survived by her husband Judge Donald W. Merkelbach of the Superior Court of New Jersey, her son Joseph C. Cassels and wife Allison, her granddaughter Holly M. Cassels, her sister Barbara Walsh, and her aunts Henrietta Smith and Helen Starke. She is also survived by her brother-in-law and wife Dr. Richard and Marianne Merkelbach, her sister-in-law Anne Brown, her former sister-in-law Dorothy Cassels, and numerous nieces and nephews.
Suzanne graduated from West Orange High School and The Berkeley Secretarial School, and pursued a career in office management. She began work at the Union Camp Corporation, which later became the International Paper Company, eventually becoming Executive Secretary to the Chief Financial Officer. Upon her retirement, she founded and operated Sporting Occasions Ltd. importing quality “Wind and Rain” sweaters from Scotland and selling them to golf clubs, corporations, and charitable events.
Suzanne will be remembered for her radiant and engaging personality. She would light up the room with her smile, and she enriched the lives of all who knew her. Her devotion to her family, spread out between New Jersey and Florida, was constant and ever present. Her affectionate nature contributed to the ease she had making new friends. She treasured her various friendships, and continually nurtured and maintained them throughout her lifetime. Glen Ridge was special to Suzanne. Watching her son Joe go through Glen Ridge High School and competing on their athletic teams, and her becoming active in the community brought Suzanne much joy.
Since her early adult years, golf was a passion of Suzanne’s. She played many of the great golf courses in both the US and Scotland. Even during her battle with cancer, 9 holes of golf with Don at Mariner Sands or Manasquan River was a special part of her day. Another one of Suzanne’s passions was travel. One of her greatest joys was traveling across the country with Don to proudly support Holly, their granddaughter, as she competed in national track meets.
Completing the circle, with God’s blessing, Suzanne and Don were remarried by Rev. Msgr. Edward J. Arnister, pastor of St. Rose Church in Belmar, NJ.
Visitation will be held Friday, June 23rd at O’Brien Funeral Home, 2028 Hwy. 35 at New Bedford Road, Wall, NJ from 4:00 pm – 8:00 pm. Funeral Mass will be on Saturday, June 24th at St. Rose Church in Belmar at 10:00 am. Interment to follow at St. Anne’s Cemetery, Wall.
In lieu of flowers, donation may be made to the Jersey Shore University Medical Center Foundation or the Visiting Nurses Association of Central Jersey Hospice.