Merle Dorothy Goatley
July 3, 1927 - January 31, 2021
Soller-Baker Funeral Homes, Inc.
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Service

A private family service will be held in michigan.

Memorial

Memorial contributions may be given in Merle’s name to St. James Episcopal Church in Birmingham, Michigan at www.stjamesbirmingham.org.

Merle Dorothy (Topham) Goatley, 93, of Southfield, Michigan, passed away on Sunday, January 31, 2021 at Bickford Senior Living of Lafayette, Indiana. Born on July 3, 1927, in Moora, Western Australia to George Christopher and Grace (Nettleton) Topham, Merle grew up in a large family on the family farm.  She attended boarding school in Perth,…

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Sean, Amber, Violet and Ezra Kelly left a message on February 12, 2021:
Grandma/Great Grandma, We all already miss you so much, we had such great times together. I remember eating you soup at your condo in Southfield as a little boy, it was so good I can still taste (and smell) it to this day when I think about it. I also remember your chocolate chip cookies and how much fun we had making them and eating them together with Erin! I remember coming over and helping you fix things in the condo and talking with you while you had your tea. You were always there for me and I am so glad you were able to meet our daughter Violet and spend her first birthday with her in December of 2019. I will always remember our time together fondly and will miss you very much. I am happy that you now get to see grandpa again, say hello to him for us, and tell him about baby Violet (and Ezra) for us.
Mark Ortega left a message on February 8, 2021:
Peter and Debbie, I will always fondly remember your mom as she was a beloved member of our Chelmsford Road family consisting of the Goatleys, the Bakers, the Hennesseys, the Tuttles and others. Merle was a trusted and loving mother and mother figure for all of us children. She was a prominent member of the warm and fun loving community that we shall never again experience but one that we were privileged to grow up in. Thank you, dear Merle.
Lorraine Seccombe left a message on February 8, 2021:
Dear Debbie & Peter & families, It was with sadness we learned of Merle’s passing and David and I send our deep condolences to you all in your loss. I’m so pleased to hear she had a meaningful connection with her church family during her life and this must be a comfort to you to know she had eternal matters in mind throughout her life. I remember her visit to Australia many years ago with Debbie, to meet the latest members of her extended family here. I also appreciated her letter writing over the years keeping us in touch with her family news. She in turn received our newsletters with interest from our time in Africa and both David & I missed her letters when it became too difficult to write due to arthritis. My parents Ken and Marge returned with many photo and video memories to share of their time with her in America. They loved their time with her and Al and meeting you all. She was her mother’s daughter in the fact she travelled to the other side of the world to raise a family. Unlike Merle though, her mother never did return to her homeland ( that I am aware of!). Will be keeping you all in our prayers at this sad time, from Lorraine Seccombe (née Topham) Geraldton WA.
Deborah Kelly left a message on February 7, 2021:
Dearest Mother, Already, I miss your sweet smile, and the wonderful times we spent together. You always made me feel special, but most importantly taught me how to be a great mother, which I feel confident I succeeded in as my two children, Sean & Erin, have become amazing adults! You were always there for them as well and they have such vivid, happy memories of their time with you. From the beginning you made my husband Jeff welcome into the family. He loved you and he always loved hearing about your life in Australia, and marveled how you traveled around the world on the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship to arrive in America! I fondly remember how you encouraged my violin playing, and would accompany me to all my lessons with Dr. Hochberg in Detroit, taking meticulous notes each time. You and dad always came to every concert I was in, even getting our church friends to join in! Thank you for being such a wonderful and loving mother. Say hello to Dad for us and enjoy a cuppa tea and ginger cookie with him! Love your daughter, Debbie
Erin K left a message on February 5, 2021:
Grandma, you are such a light in my life. I have the fondest memories of staying over at your house as a kid, and then of living with you the summer after freshman year in college. I remember the joy of tea time with Grandma, and the special feeling that you made my favorite dish (that rice with the teeney tiny shrimps!). When you shared your most precious of commodities, the Black Diamond Cheddar you'd eat on toast with lingonberries. And the pride I could see in your eyes at every concert of mine you came to. I'll always be in awe of how you ventured thousands of miles to start a family in a foreign land. And I'll always remember your adorable accent, traces of which still existed even 5 decades after you'd moved to the States. I love you, Grandma. Say hi to Grandpa for me.
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Susan Baker left a message on February 5, 2021:
Dear Peter and Debbie- I am so sorry to lose your mum. Merle, “Mrs Goatley”, has always been a fixture in our lives and now she will forever be one in our memories and I am so thankful for that. As a child, Merle taught me about “proper tea” and who “the Queen” was. As I grew older, I grew to realize how brave she was. To have left Australia at such a young age. To have traveled to the other side of the earth with her new husband to raise a family in the absence of her parent’s and siblings close presence. What a quiet deep courage she possessed. Though, her marrying one of the funniest men on the planet had to have helped. But then, your mum had a great sense of humor and dearly loved to laugh- making theirs a near perfect match. Given that Alf was from Ontario and Merle from north of Perth, how amazing is it that they managed to find one another ?! Just as all of our families were so fortunate to have somehow come together at just the right time and place. To have shared our lives, enjoyed our differences and so much love and laughter. To have been children together, under the watchful eyes of an array of parents- chiefly our wonderful moms… Wishing you safe passage, Merle- I will dearly miss that twinkle in your eye. Love, Susan Baker
Marilyn Williams left a message on February 4, 2021:
Deepest sympathy to my cousins Peter and Debbie on hearing the sad news of the passing of your mother, Aunty Merle. Even though we are so far away in Australia we are thinking of you and your families at this trying time. I was so pleased that Mum and Dad (Merle's brother), could travel over to the US and visit the family in 1992, they absolutely loved seeing where Merle and Alf lived and meeting the extended family. Love from Marilyn Williams (Topham), Cervantes Western Australia.
Kim Topham left a message on February 4, 2021:
Remembering Aunty Merle, Dad's last sister, seventh of 8 Children Dad being number 8. Born in the 1920's in Rural Western Australia on a Family Farm . They went to school During the years of the Great Depression &WW2 with all the associated shortages and hardships even a large military presence in the local area as there was the threat of a Japanese Invasion. Merle finished her Education at Boarding school in Perth at St Hilda's. After Leaving school she got a Job in Perth working for General Motors, During that time she Met her Husband Alf who had been sent to Australia as General Motor's were setting up Car production in Australia under the name" Holden" . A brand of Car her Brother Leon has always owned and still Drives.
Jeff Kelly left a message on February 3, 2021:
I love Merle and will miss her very much. Merle was just as much a mother to me as was my real mom. I will always remember her sense of humor, her trust in me to handle her finances, and her kindness and love for everyone she met. She was always a very happy and pleasant person, and we were reminded of that often by the awesome folks at her assisted living facility. I love you Merle!
Soller-Baker Funeral Homes, Inc. left a message:
Please accept our deepest condolences for your family's loss.
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