Alma Ellen Foster Merrifield (83) went to her eternal home with her Lord Jesus Christ on Thursday,
March 16, 2023 at Stormont Vail Hospital in Topeka KS after a sudden and intense illness with an
Infection, Pneumonia, CoViD19 and kidney failure.
Alma was born to Don Tomlin and Hazel Dell (Bolton) Foster in Emporia in October 29, 1939. She spent most of her growing up years in Emporia but enjoyed a couple of years in Kansas City, Kansas when her father was transferred there by the railroad. She graduated from Emporia High School in 1957 and attended Kansas State Teachers College for two years.
In high school she worked at Woolworths and one of the local diners. In college she waited tables at various diners in Emporia. While living in Ohio with her young family she waited tables on the evening shift and enjoyed counting the tips with her kids.
Alma accepted Jesus Christ as her personal Lord and Savior when she was in grade school and made serving Him a priority for the rest of her life. She was a counselor for Youth For Christ in the 50s and taught Sunday School during her Junior and Senior years of high school. She would actively attend church until the last year of her life.
She enjoyed music and was in a band playing the accordion over the radio and in school. She sang in the high school choral. The majority of the time she played piano for herself and for the occasional church service when a fill-in pianist was needed.
Alma married John Merrifield on June 14, 1959 in Emporia. He survives of the home. They lived in Emporia, Kansas, Grove City, Ohio, and the Newton area.
Alma went to work at Candy Cane Corner nursery school after their first two children were in school,. Later she stayed home to raise their third child and babysat in their home. Alma finished out her career in Childcare again at Candy Cane Corner and then at Sunshine Academy until she retired. Children were important to her and she was President of her children’s Parent/Teacher organization both at Suncrest and Walton.
Alma enjoyed Family Gatherings and birthday celebrations. Her family was encouraged to request their favorite dish or meal for their birthday. She truly enjoyed hosting the annual Thanksgiving extended family gathering every year. This last year she didn’t cook a lot of it but definitely gave direction and guidance.
She was involved in various Bible studies over the years including the Community Bible Study and one of Presbyterian Manor’s Bible studies and many other studies just with friends getting together. She loved pouring over the Holy Scriptures and sharing with other women what each had gleaned. Praying for others was something she took seriously as well.
She was preceded in death by her parents and her very special sister-in-law, Jody Foster. Survivors include her husband, John, children David Merrifield of Missouri, Susan Merrifield (Rusten Schroeder) of rural Goessel, and Elizabeth (John) Dubuisson of Tonganoxie, Kansas. She is also survived by her brother Alan Foster of DelRio Texas, niece Wendy (Brian) Norris and nephew Alan (Brynne) Foster Jr and great nieces, Jordan, Amber, and Alyssa, family friend Marianne Effa (Terry Miller) and constant companion cat Ebony.
A service celebrating her life is planned for Friday, March 24, 2023 at Koerner Heights Church at 10.00. A light lunch will be served following the service. Burial will be in Chicago Mound Cemetery near Emporia following the lunch. A time of visiting to greet family is planned for the Thursday, March 23, 6-8pm at Petersen’s Funeral Home in Newton. Memorials may be given to Source of Light Kansas in Newton, or Christ For Me Inc, PO Box 1694, Tahlequah, OK 74465.
The family would like to thank the many people that prayed for Alma during this last intense illness and those who prayed for her so faithfully following her Hodgkin diagnosis. It feels good that so many people asked about her and assured us of their prayers.