John Mercer, Jr. was called to God on July 31, 2018, at the age of 95.
Born in Globe in 1922, Johnny was a life-long resident and booster of all things Globe. He graduated from Globe High School and served in the Navy during WWII on a mid-sized aircraft carrier, the Salerno Bay. After his discharge from the Navy, Johnny went into the earth moving business with his cousin, George Leech, and soon formed Johnny Mercer Construction Company, Excavating Contractors. At its peak, Mercer Construction employed over 100 men in the Globe-Miami area. They leveled land for homes in many of the area’s subdivisions, built over 300 miles of highway, and moved over 15 million tons of earth at mines locally and across the state.
In 1952, Johnny married a Globe girl, Colleen Murphy. Together they raised six children, four of whom live in Globe today. John and Colleen were active members of Holy Angels’ Church. Together with a few parish families, Johnny helped build Holy Angels’ School and argued for bringing nuns from Ireland to teach here. He donated several parcels of land for the school, purchased their first school bus, and later procured the Nano Nagel building. Johnny and Colleen were great friends of the nuns and traveled to Ireland on two occasions to visit the Sisters who had returned home.
In 1953 Johnny turned his bus driving hobby into the only local charter bus service in Globe for nearly 60 years. Many people in the area remember when Johnny took their groups to Band Day, football games, Magic Mountain, Disneyland, and community concert events. In the ’80s, Johnny got out of the construction business and operated the charter business full-time until age 88.
Because Johnny had such a love for Globe, he often donated the buses and driver expenses so that kids here could have great experiences. In 1969, Johnny financed most of a trip to Yellowstone National Park for a large group of Globe High Band and City Band players directed by Milton Nunamaker. Johnny played trumpet in the Globe City Band from the mid-1930s to 1980s and was a founding member of the Globe-Miami Centennial Band in 2011.
Never a talkative man, Johnny Mercer was always generous with time, labor, talent and money. He was central to the completion of many of Globe finest projects: The Community Center, the Globe High Band, the Globe City Band, the Elks, The Follies (an annual talent show fundraiser back in the day), the Little League Park, and Holy Angels’ Church and School.
John was preceded in death by his beautiful wife of 60 years, Colleen; his parents John and Christina, and his brother Bill. He is survived by his sister Anne Marie Holland; his brother, Jim, and his six children, Theresa (Rick) Savedra, Kathleen (Nolan Frost), Dennis (Amy), Tom (Kathy), Sharon (Bill) Navarro, and Chris. He is also survived by 27 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Holy Angel’s Church in Globe, 201 S. Broad St., or Globe-Miami Centennial Band c/o Nolan Frost, 199 E. Haskins Rd., Globe, Ariz. 85501.
Funeral arrangements are made through Lamonts Mortuary of Globe. Visitation begins at 9 a.m., Rosary at 10 a.m., and Mass will be at 10:30 on Saturday, Aug. 11, all at Holy Angels’ Church. After internment at the Globe Cemetery, a luncheon will be held at the Holy Angels’ Church Hall on Maple Street across from the church.