By Sid Riley
Born in Dellwood in 1937, raised on the family farm in Dellwood, attended Dellwood School, lifelong resident of Dellwood, and died at the family home in Dellwood. Rubin Mercer and his loving family have always formed an integral part of that beautiful community in the eastern part of our county. He will be missed by many.
His father and mother, Henry Grady Mercer and Queen Ester Williams-Mercer, owned a family farm on the outskirts of Dellwood. The Mears farm was located a short distance down the road, where a beautiful little girl named Frieda Mears lived and played. Rubin and Frieda played together as children, "I have known Rubin all of my life", Frieda states. "It was just natural that we would get married when we were old enough. I have always loved him."
When they married in 1957 they were little more than children. But they were deeply in love and were totally dedicated to each other. Thus began a loving, Christian relationship which endured for fifty-one years. Three years later their love spawned a son, Shane Mercer, who was born in 1960.
When Rubin left the family farm to go to work, his first real job was working on the Jim Woodruff Dam which was in the process of being built over at Chattahoochee. Next he went to work in the body shop at Peacock Motor Company in Marianna. Later he worked at McCaskill Ford, and finally Hopkins Pontiac in Marianna. This experience prepared him for starting his own business.
In 1973 he opened Mercer’s Paint and Body Shop, located on the West end of Marianna near the intersection of Lafayette Street and Penn Ave. Then in 1981, after several years of successful operations, he purchased land on the East end of Marianna, in a remote area on Highway 90. He built a building and moved into that location and has worked there for the past twenty-seven years. In 1978 he brought his son, Shane, into the business. He forced Shane to start at the bottom of the organization, doing the dirtiest, hardest work available. He wanted Shane to learn every aspect of the business. "Son, I realize I am a hard taskmaster, but some day you will be running this business and in order to earn the respect of your employees and your customers you must always be prepared to answer any question they may have…and to have the right answer," Rubin explained.
"Dad always put his priorities in order," Shane explained. "First there was the Lord, then his family, then his business. He was totally devoted to all three. Every morning he would come into work, turn on the equipment, start a pot of coffee, and go into a special area for his morning prayers." Rubin and Frieda have always been active members of the Cypress Community Church, where Rubin was Sunday School Superintendent. "He always attributed the success of the business to the benevolence of the Lord."
"He positively impacted the lives of many, many young people who he encountered through his church work or through employing them at the shop", Frieda stated. "He helped many people in need, quietly with only a few people knowing what he had done. He always stressed integrity and a Christian approach to his life and his business."
Shane Mercer will now take the reins of the family business, just as Rubin had intended. His teacher, mentor, and loving father Rubin Mercer has prepared him for the task. Meanwhile, citizens from throughout Jackson County are expressing their love and concern for the Mercer family.