FORT MYERS, FL - Mabel Merriam Elting Bristol of Shell Point Village, Fort Myers, Florida died on Tuesday, June 21, 2011 at age 102. She was born on July 29, 1908 in Marianna, Arkansas, the daughter of Alvin Olin and Miriam Rawlings Merriam. She was pre-deceased by two sisters, Lucy Merriam Short and Margaret Merriam Blaylock, and a brother Henry Jonathan Merriam, as well as two husbands, Harold Richmond Elting whom she married in 1979, and Hamilton Russell Bristol whom she married in 1987. She is survived by nieces, nephews and step-children.
Mabel was educated in Auburn, Illinois public schools and graduated from Shurtleff College of Alton, Illinois in 1929. She joined the staff of the Franklin Life Insurance Company of Springfield, Illinois, where she served as Supervisor in charge of the Medical Information Bureau before retiring after 39 years of service. Following her retirement from Franklin, she joined the staff of the American Baptist Assembly, a national conference center at Green Lake, Wisconsin.
Mabel enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and served her country as a petty officer in the WAVES, assigned to Naval Flight Operations, Lambert Field, St. Louis, Missouri for three years. Following World War II, she returned to Springfield, where she resided until 1979.
An avid traveler, Mabel enjoyed many trips to all 50 states and all continents except South America. She was a member of Central Baptist Church of Springfield, Illinois, The Village Church of Shell Point Village, DAR, and the Navy League, and served two terms as president of the Springfield branch of Zonta International. Throughout her life, she served in many other volunteer capacities as well.
Mabel lived a full, generous life and aged gracefully, always thankful for small kindnesses. She will be missed by her many beloved nieces and nephews, as well as by the children and grandchildren of her two husbands, all of whom are grateful to those at Shell Point who cared for her so lovingly during her final years.