Mertic—Elizabeth Wold Mertic, 85, on April 7, 2020, of complications from COVID-19, in Schererville, Ind. Elizabeth was born on May 19, 1934, in Madison, Wis., the first of five children born to Francis Govier and Robert Wold. The family moved numerous times during the Great Depression. Elizabeth spent her first eight grades at six different schools in six different towns. Her high school years were spent in Rock Falls, Ill., where she was active in the Methodist youth group. She attended Kendall College in Evanston, Ill., then transferred to the University of Wisconsin–Madison, where she completed her bachelor’s degree in 1957.
Elizabeth was introduced to Friends while she was a student at the University of Wisconsin. She met Francis Hole at an outdoor gathering of peace organizations on the anniversary of Gandhi’s death. Following her conversation with Dr. Hole, Elizabeth began to attend Madison (Wis.) Meeting. In 1958, she moved to Chicago, Ill., and initially lived with a family who were members of Fifty-seventh Street Meeting. That summer Elizabeth worked at the Newberry Avenue Settlement House. Following a stint at the Mary McDowell Settlement House, she accepted a position teaching at George Washington High School in Chicago.
Elizabeth married Don Mertic in 1962. Their family grew with the births of Helen, Tony, and Ann. When they were young, the children attended the Ancona School in Chicago. Elizabeth took a position in Ancona’s administration department. She would work in various administrative capacities until retirement.
Elizabeth and Don joined Fifty-seventh Street Meeting and raised their three children in the meeting community. Nurtured by the meeting, Elizabeth took on leadership roles, including recording clerk, treasurer, and presiding clerk. In 1989, with their children grown, Elizabeth moved with Don to Lake Villa, Ill., and transferred her membership to Lake Forest (Ill.) Meeting. She immediately became an active member of a rising leadership group at the meeting. Serving wherever she was needed, Elizabeth brought a tireless leading to work against injustice in the world, as well as a wry sense of humor.
Elizabeth’s leadership extended to Illinois Yearly Meeting (IYM), where she served as clerk. In 1994, she traveled to Friends World Committee for Consultation (FWCC) events as the yearly meeting’s representative. In 2002, Elizabeth accepted a position to serve as clerk of FWCC Section of the Americas.
When Elizabeth’s marriage to Don ended in 2001, she leaned on the meeting and others for spiritual support. In her new life, she had many adventures. In addition to traveling for FWCC, Elizabeth took trips to Peru, China, Iran, and other destinations abroad. After learning of the Iraqi Student Project during a trip to Syria, she helped to bring Iraqi students living in Damascus to colleges in the United States.
Elizabeth lived life fully as a Friend. A natural leader and elder, she served with integrity and humility.
In 2008, Elizabeth presented the annual Jonathan Plummer Lecture at IYM. She talked about her experience as a Friend. The title of her talk was “Joy Like a Fountain.” A transcript is available on IYM’s website (ilym.org).
Elizabeth is survived by three children, Helen Steinbach (Fred), Tony Mertic (Michelle), and Ann Holtz; and six grandchildren.