In memoriam: Missionary emeritus Ramona Mercer, 1928-2023

Ramona Mercer, 1928-2023
IMB Photo

Ramona Mercer, an International Mission Board missionary emeritus who shared the gospel in Japan, died Aug. 10, 2023. She was 94.

Ramona was born Sept. 12, 1928, in Blanche, Tennessee, to the late Lossie and Finetta (Thompson) Hall. She graduated from Central High School in Lincoln County, Tennessee, and received the Bachelor of Arts from Union University, Jackson, Tennessee, and Master of Religious Education from Carver School of Missions and Social Work in Louisville, Kentucky.

She married Dewey Mercer on June 13, 1954.

In 1955, the Foreign Mission Board (now International Mission Board) appointed Ramona and Dewey missionaries to Japan.

The couple served for 38 years as missionaries to Japan. Their primary jobs were church planting and church strengthening. As a woman, Ramona had opportunities to witness to the Japanese women in a variety of ways.

She and Dewey attended language school together in Tokyo for two years before their work assignment to Takamatsu on the Island of Shikoku began.

Ramona had many responsibilities while they were in Japan, including Sunday school teacher, organist for worship services, part-time home school teacher, and volunteer English teacher for a school community. She also held Japanese cooking classes, taught quilting and patch work, taught doll making, and taught English at a trade school.

She was associate director of Woman’s Missionary Union of Japan from 1978-1985. Ramona also was the leader of a Mission Women’s group called “The Mission Family.”

The Japan Baptist Convention leaders asked the Mercers to go to the city of Matsue which is located on the coast of Western Japan. They spent the last ten years of their ministry there, ministering to young Japanese.

On April 17, 1991, Dewey suddenly died of a massive heart attack. They had planned leave for furlough and retirement in June of the same year.

She is survived by her children, Dale Mercer (Cheryl) and Darlene Tanner (David); three grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.

A funeral service was held August 18, at Calvary Baptist Church in Jackson, Tennessee.

Read an obituary here.