Merle Eleanor Couch

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Merle Eleanor Couch, oldest child of Erin Jones and Theo Couch, was born October 13, 1922, in Oak Cliff (Dallas), Texas. She was married May 1, 1943, in Corning, New York, to George Joseph Nessle (born June 5, 1921, in New York Mills, New York, and died February 16, 1996, in St. Petersburg Beach, Florida).

Merle and George had seven children:

Kathleen Anne Nessle, born October 2, 1949, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Elizabeth Erin Nessle, born August 3, 1942, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Michael George Nessle, born September 14, 1954, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Lawrence Joseph Nessle, born September 27, 1955, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, and died September 15, 1972, in Reading Pennsylvania; Jonathan David Nessle, born September 27, 1955, in Oak Ridge, Tennessee; Paul Anthony Nessle, born September 5, 1960, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania; and Mary Linda Nessle, born September 18, 1962, in Pottstown, Pennsylvania.

Note: Story from 1996 Arthur Jones Family Scrapbook.

Merle was born on October 13, 1922, in Oak Cliff, Dallas, Texas, to Erin Jones Couch and James Theodore Couch. When Erin and Theo were divorced around 1927-1928, Erin moved with her children, Merle and Marjorie, to Memphis, Texas, where the girls had the wonderful influence of “Papa” and “Mama” Jones. They were always loving and welcoming, although their daughter’s divorce must have pained them. Merle started first grade there, second grade in Llano, Texas, and she attended third grade through junior high in Austin. At that time, Erin met her former college romance, Ralph B. Dixon, whose wife had died. They were married in 1937, and Merle and Marjorie went with Erin to El Paso for their high school years. Merle graduated from Austin High School in El Paso in 1940. She made her last trip to Caddo Gap that year, where she was met by her Uncle Volney and Aunt Joyce, and went to Ann Arbor for one year at the University of Michigan. That time in Caddo Gap was also the last contact she had with her cousin Billy Eisenlohr—who was extra special to her.

During that year in Ann Arbor, she met George Joseph Nessle. His parents were originally from Lebanon—he was the youngest of five children. After George graduated from the University of Michigan in February of 1943, and was working as a chemist for Corning Glass Works, they married on May 1, 1943, in Corning. The next year George was drafted and ended up in Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on the “Manhattan Project.” He returned there after his discharge for 17 years. Kathleen Anne was born October 2, 1949; Elizabeth Erin August 3, 1952; Michael George September 14, 1954; Lawrence Joseph and Jonathan David on September 27, 1955. The family moved to Linfield, Pennsylvania, in 1960, where George was a research chemist for Kawecki Chemical Co. in Boyertown, Pennsylvania. Paul Anthony was born in Pottstown, Pennsylvania, on September 5, 1960, and Mary Linda on September 18, 1962. The next 22 years were full of living—George travelled extensively to Europe, Japan, and China, and was Vice President of Research and Development when the company was bought by Cabot Corporation of Boston. In 1972 they lost their son Lawrence to a very rare brain tumor. Two years after the buyout by Cabot, George decided to take early retirement and he and Merle “ran away from home” and moved to a small home on St. Pete Beach in Florida. However, the children—one family at a time—have managed to get down at least once a year, and Merle and George have gone up once a year for a family reunion. They also had three lovely trips to visit friends in Europe, and three lovely cruises around Hawaii.


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