Cover photo for Mary "Theresa" Merna's Obituary
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Mary "Theresa" Merna

August 15, 1955 — December 12, 2020

Mary "Theresa" Merna

Mary "Theresa" Merna passed away on December 12, 2020 in Morton, Illinois. Born on August 15, 1955 the second of eight children to Joseph and Jane (Hayes) of Merna, IL, she grew up on a farm just north of Merna, Illinois which she endearingly referred to as being “Close to Normal”.

Following graduation from Bloomington Central Catholic High School and the University of Illinois, Theresa joined the Peace Corps and served in the Solomon Islands. It was there she embraced the ideology of “No Shake Shake” which loosely translates to “Don’t Worry, Be Happy”. She thoroughly enjoyed life and her close-knit group of friends, including those she met during the 25 years she lived in Dallas, Texas.

Her Catholic faith served as the foundation of her life. Theresa loved all people, had many lifelong friends and was the “Favorite Aunt” to her 16 nieces and nephews. She traveled the world extensively but one of her favorite destinations was Rushville, IL for the annual Camp Cousins get together. Theresa loved great food, particularly cheeseburgers at the Merna Tap. She was kind to every person she met and had a terrific sense of humor, even after her diagnosis with Alzheimer’s Disease.

Theresa will be greatly missed by her many friends and her surviving brothers and sisters: Joan (John) Sullivan of Rushville, IL, Dan Merna of Merna, IL, Trish (Wade) Pestka of Lexington, IL, Peter (Patti) Merna of Brimfield, IL, Rita (Mike) McCarthy of Morton, IL, Jim (Teri) Merna of Bloomington, IL and sister-in-law Pam Merna of Merna, IL.

She was preceded in death by her parents and her brother Mike Merna.

For the last 17 months, Theresa was a resident of Apostolic Christian Restmor in Morton where the love and extraordinary care she received will always be appreciated.

Theresa has donated her body to science in hope of finding a cure for Alzheimers.

In her memory, the family asks that you continue her example by being kind to every person you meet, recognize that each day is a gift and enjoy life.

Due to the pandemic, a private memorial mass will be held for her family at St. Patricks Church of Merna and a public Celebration of Life will be held at a later date. Knapp-Johnson Funeral Home in Morton is assisting the family with arrangements.

Memorials may be made to The Center for Prevention of Abuse in Peoria, IL, The Alzheimer’s Association or any charity of your choice.  

Online condolences and memories of Theresa may be left for her family at

To send flowers to the family in memory of Mary "Theresa" Merna, please visit our flower store.


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