Park, Merry

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PARK (NIXON), Merrie Ann

Merrie Ann Nixon Park died peacefully at her home in Atlanta on April 8, 2022. Daughter of Alfreda Josephine (Jojo) Raynes and John Franklin Nixon, Merrie Ann lived most of her early years in La Jolla, California. As a little girl, she spent many happy hours riding Prince on his horse at Duffy’s Ranch School, and any mention of Prince kept her smiling throughout her life. She also attended Bishop’s School, a leisurely mile-and-a-half walk from the sea lions and seals of La Jolla Point. A graceful and gifted athlete from an early age, Merrie Ann was a natural surfer, horse rider and tennis player.

When her family moved to New Orleans during her freshman year, Merrie Ann attended a boarding school in Mississippi and soon won the state tennis championship. She attended Stetson University, where she was Homecoming Queen and on the Orange Bowl Court. In 1954, she married Arthur Joseph Park. The couple moved to their hometown of Atlanta, where Merrie Ann lived for the rest of her life. She passed on her love of tennis (and all sports) to her three children Julia, Art and Lauren. Julia and Merrie Ann won the mother-daughter Georgia Open in the early 1970s, the first of many championships for the pair.

Park played in the Southern Senior Cup for 20 years, rarely losing a game. Remarkably, she won championships in the 55, 65 and 75 age groups. She had crisp groundstrokes, cool demeanor and incredible stamina. His 55 league game lasted five hours; his championship at 65 lasted two hours and his last championship at 76 lasted just under three hours. Every game was in sweltering summer heat. A committed teammate and fierce competitor, she returned to the court after an hour’s hiatus (despite strong protests from family and friends) to win the doubles title at the age of 76.

For 15 years in the 80s and 90s, she was at the epicenter of Warren T. Jackson Elementary School, where she was front desk manager and assistant to the principal. She bandaged the sores, patiently listened to the woes of children and adults, and generally took care of any issues that arose for Jackson’s students, families, and staff.

Merrie Ann has traveled extensively in Europe, China, Japan, Thailand and the Panama Canal. She loved gardening and was an enthusiastic member of the River Valley Garden Club. She loved her Bible study teachers and classmates at Peachtree Presbyterian. Despite mobility difficulties and the aftermath of the Covid, she followed her class as recently as last December. She was a devoted and patient daughter and a caring companion during her mother’s last years.

Merrie Ann is survived by her three children, Julia Lundstrem, Art Park and Lauren (Robert) Winborne, all of Atlanta. She adored her nine grandchildren: Jennifer (Tyler) Hartley, Michael Lundstrem, Bolling (Murray) Keogh, Katherine Lundstrem, Wallace Winborne, Frank Winborne, Arthur Winborne, Robert Winborne and Josephine Winborne, each of whom enjoyed meals and vacations by Nan. . “Great-Granny Nanny” enjoyed spending time with her two great-grandchildren, Josephine and Cecilia. She is also survived by her sister Freda Jo Munnich of Everett, Washington, and nine nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held at Kellett Chapel, Peachtree Presbyterian Church on May 9 at 1 p.m. The reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Peachtree Presbyterian Church or the Atlanta Humane Society.

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