Merle Cavanaugh, our beloved, dear Mother, known as “Angel” in our family, died suddenly at the age of 79 on September 7th, 2021 in Ocala, Florida.
Merle was born in Flushing, New York on September 21,1941 to Merle and Grenville Thom, Richmond Hill, New York. She was the youngest of five spirited siblings. At 19, she graduated as an LPN from Glen Cove Nursing School. In 1962 she married and started a family.
Merle valued education as a tool for success, which led to her continuing her education and earning her RN Degree in 1976 and then a BS: Biology Science, from Dowling College, in 1994.
Throughout her career, Merle cared for countless patients and their families. She started in Med/Surg, then specialized in ICU/CCU nursing and as a Recovery Room nurse. She was among the early nurses trained to use a defibrillator. Merle spent the second half of her career in Psychiatric Nursing. She delighted in helping people develop skills to feel better and have a better quality of life. Her nursing career spanned a total of 60 years!
While her nursing career was a calling, Merle enjoyed many other activities. She enjoyed spending time with her fun-loving sisters! She relocated from Long Island to Ocala, Florida in 2002 to be closer to them. She also loved to dance and was accomplished in many styles, including her favorites, Kizomba and Argentine Tango. She also enjoyed swimming, vacationing, boating, and Tai Chi.
In addition to her parents, Merle was predeceased by her brother, Bruce Thom.
Left to cherish her memory are her loving daughters, Beth Shropshire (Barry Bruno); Diana La Spina (Paul); Cheryl Nicholson (Kevin); loving sisters: Diane Schember; Gail Dicorcia; and Victoria Valli; beloved grandchildren, Alex Bleickhardt, Jesse Bleickhardt (Chandra), Kate La Spina, Clare La Spina, and great grandson, Samual Bleickhardt. Stepchildren: Doreen Cavanaugh (Joe), John Cavanaugh (Michelle), Cindy Cavanaugh (Newman), Joey Cavanaugh (Donna), Jill Cavaugh (Angelo), and Susan Cavanuaugh (Chris).
Funeral Service will be held on Wednesday, September 29th, at Joy Lutheran Church, Ocala. Calling hours at 1:00 pm with service to follow at 2:00 pm. Interment will follow the service at Good Shepherd Memorial Gardens, 5050 SW 20th Street, Ocala, Florida.
Memorial gifts can be made to St.Jude’s Children’s Hospital or Joy Lutheran Church, Ocala, Florida.