December 19 2019
Merle’s Obituary Born in Castries, Saint Lucia on July 29, 1941 to Sir Ira and Lady Norma Simmons, Merle passed away on December 19, 2019 in Redwood City, California. As a child, she attended Castries Methodist School and Saint Joseph’s Convent. During her teens she was a member of the St. Lucia Red Cross Society and represented St. Lucia at an international Red Cross Conference in Canada. She completed her undergraduate studies in Chemistry and Zoology at the University of the West Indies, Mona Campus. She married Reverend Rae Boxill on July 26, 1965 at the University Chapel in Jamaica. At five years of age, she had already met Rae, aged ten. She always appreciated his witty sense of humor and often claimed she stayed with him because he made her laugh. They were married for 52 years. Teaming up with her husband, Merle moved around the Caribbean from one church assignment to another. Her eldest daughter was born during their first assignment in Guyana, while her two younger children were born in Saint Lucia. After settling for a time in St. Lucia, where Merle taught at the A Level College, she and Rae moved to the United States so they could both complete Masters’ of Education from Stanford University in the CIDEC program. She was a scholar-practitioner who contributed to the development of standards-based curriculum in a project led by the California Academy of Sciences and NASA Ames. However, because she believed that the best teachers are lifelong learners, it is impossible to list the myriad institutes, courses, and trainings she either participated in or led. Merle served for over 50 years as a high school science teacher, mentor, education coach, consultant and administrator, including Principal at Evergreen Valley High School in San Jose. At the time of her second retirement, she was Co-Director of Curriculum and Instruction at Escuela Popular Accelerated Family Learning School, a K-12 charter, also in San Jose. She believed in the vision and mission of Escuela Popular, and enjoyed working with the teachers there. Merle was tirelessly devoted to a life of Christian service. She was dedicated to the adult Sunday school at LAUMC valuing the spiritual exchange and rapport that took place in their collective search for insight about the divine. She treasured the lifelong friendships she and Rae cultivated there. Additionally, she was a committed participant in United Methodist Women, serving at the local, district, and conference levels–including the Mary Martha Fellowship at LAUMC. She was a talented public speaker, leading many retreats, workshops, and guest lectures. Impressively, she served as the first black president of the California / Nevada Conference from 1994-1998. Merle had very diverse interests. She was a passionate, worldly reader, and also loved 60 Minutes, PBS NewsHour, and MSNBC. With her knowledge of a wide range of topics, she could always start an interesting conversation, making friends instantly in whichever new situation she found herself. One of the highlights of her Sunday was joining the “Lunch Bunch,” a group of cherished friends who patronized local restaurants after services. She further enjoyed experimenting with foods from different parts of the world. Despite her numerous commitments and accomplishments, she was generous with her encouragement of her family. She took time to appreciate her husband’s gardening skills. Although not a sports fan, she was an avid supporter of all her children’s athletic events. In her later years, when she and Rae shared a commute, they filled their time on the road harmonizing along with CDs of Methodist hymns. She insisted that all of her children learn to play instruments. Merle is survived by her children Diane, Andrew and Beverley Boxill; her sisters Suzette Simmons and Kathleen Velasquez; her brother Dr. Ira Simmons; her brothers-in-law Roy Bailey and Bryan Boxill; her nieces Arlene Bailey, Allison Bailey Wedderburn, Althea Bailey, Shammah Philgence, Fleur Simmons, Brittany Simmons, and their families; and her nephews Bryan Alleen and Ricardo Velasquez and their families. A memorial will be celebrated at Los Altos United Methodist Church, 655 Magdalena Avenue, Los Altos, on Saturday, February 1, at 2 p.m., followed by a reception. Merle’s ashes are interred alongside her husband’s at Alta Mesa Memorial Park, Palo Alto. Donations in lieu of flowers can be made to: The United Methodist Women, African Student Education Fund for Scholarships for Women at Africa University. Read More
Our most sincere sympathies to the family and friends of Merle Theresa Serville Boxill December 19 2019.
Death notice for the town of: Palo Alto, state: California