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Thelma (Sanders) Merchant
January 13, 1940 ~ October 6, 2023 (age 83) 83 Years Old
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Thelma Pauline Sanders Merchant, 83, of Rantoul passed away at Newman Rehabilitation & Health Care Center, Newman, on Friday (Oct. 7, 2023).
She was born Jan. 13, 1940, in San Angelo, Texas, to Walker and Rosalie (Swain) Sanders. She married Merle Merchant on June 29, 1956, in San Antonio. He preceded her in death on April 5, 2023.
Also preceding her in death were her parents; a sister, Shirley Grego; and a brother, James Sanders.
Surviving are a daughter, Vicki (Mark) Brooks of Rantoul; two sons, Michael (Brenda) Merchant of Kansas City, Mo., and David (Diane) Merchant of Rochester; her grandchildren, Carly (Ryan) O’Connor, Kelsey Brooks, Randi (Brian) Wenzel, Scott Breeding, Makenna Brooks, David (Andrea) Merchant, Michael Merchant, Nicholas (Lauren) Merchant, Hannah Merchant, Dana (Jeremy) Eisenhauer and Kyle Merchant; and eight great-grandchildren. She is also survived by a brother, Walker Sanders.
Pauline was only 16 and had never been anywhere except for Texas when she met Merle. As an Air Force wife, she lived in many different states, and it’s safe to say that for a quiet, shy woman, she was often out of her comfort zone. She made the best of every move her family made and was a wonderful and loving mother to her kids and a fantastic grandmother and great-grandmother.
We will all miss her so much, but we know that she is at peace now and with Merle and all of the other family members she has missed for so long.
A private celebration of life will be held for family members at a later date.