Merle Stiller Jones, age 85, of Chipley, FL passed from this life on February 8th, 2022 at Flowers Hospital in Dothan, AL. She was born on September 22nd, 1936 in Washington County, FL to the late John W. Stiller and Sarah (Pitts) Stiller.
Merle was a member of Wausau United Methodist Church, The Delta Kappa Gamma Society International, Wausau Garden Club and Washington County Friends of the Library.
Her educational experience spanned 38 years, primarily within Washington County School District. She began teaching at Wausau Elementary School prior to the completion of her degree. She taught at Kate M. Smith Elementary School for 20 years. During these years, she completed coursework in FSU/UWF Cooperative Doctoral Program.
After her tenure as teacher at Kate Smith Elementary, Merle served as an assistant principal at both Kate Smith Elementary and Roulhac Middle School. She was principal of Vernon Elementary School (1993 – 1995) when she retired. During her educational career Merle also served as an adjunct professor at Chipola, the University of West Florida and Florida State University. Following her retirement, she served as a volunteer consultant and worked briefly at Panhandle Area Educational Cooperative. Her experience as an educator made her a tireless advocate for desirable legislation impacting children and youth. Unbeknownst to many, Merle’s career also included teaching swimming, summer athletics, Physical Education and Adult Education.
Merle was very active in many organizations locally and internationally. At her death she was serving as Vice President of the Washington County Friends of the Library. She was a 36- year member and served as President of the Florida DKG State Organization of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International from 2013 -2015. She was also member of both Phi and Delta Theta Chapters of the DKG organization since her induction in 1986. As Florida DKG State Organization President, Merle was the catalyst for the creation of the Florida DKG Educational Foundation and served as a member of the Board of Directors since its beginning. She received the Sara B, Ferguson Achievement Award in 2019, the highest honor bestowed by the state DKG organization. She was also very active at the regional and international levels of the organization attending numerous international conventions within the 17 member countries.
In 2018 Merle was selected by the Girl Scouts of the Florida Panhandle as a Woman of Distinction. The organization identified Merle as someone of courage, confidence and character who truly makes the world a better place. All who knew Merle would confirm that she made the world a better place because of her presence and contributions.
Along with her parents she is preceded in death by her husband, James L. Jones; husband, Dwight W. Jones; his son, Charles D. Jones; three brothers, Richard T. Stiller, Arnold L. Gilliand and John W. Stiller Jr.
Survivors include son, Gary B. Jones and wife Connie; daughter, Susan Jones Cook and husband Gary; stepson, James T. Jones “Bo” and wife Connie; Dwight’s sons, Dwight W. Jones Jr. and wife Amy, Rowe D. Jones and wife Kimberly; one sister, Marvell Tiller and husband Roland, numerous grandchildren and one great granddaughter.
Funeral Services will be held on Friday, February 18, 2022 at Brown Funeral Home. Visitation will begin at 10:00 A.M. with the Funeral Service to follow starting at 11:00 A.M. Interment will follow at Wausau Memorial Gardens Cemetery in Wausau, FL. The family requests that masks be worn due to some who are immune compromised.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Shriner’s Hospital, United Methodist Children’s Home or Florida DKG Educational Foundation.
Brown Funeral Home & Blue Lake Crematory of Chipley, FL is in charge of arrangements. Family and friends may sign the online register at www.brownfh.net.