Allan Preston Merry was born October 27, 1939 in Jackson Tennessee to Florine Franklin and Allan Victor Merry. Allangave his life over to Christ at a young age. He attended Merry High School where he graduated and made is musical debut on saxophone with his group “Allan and his Lads.” Allan majored in music with a concentration in woodwinds at the historical Tennessee State University. He took a sabbatical from college to begin his musical journey with a road-trip to join the great Johnny Coltrane. From there he went on to pursue a professional music career performing with such greats as Smokey Robinson, Betty Everett, Joe Turner, Lou Rawls, Friends of Distinction. The highlight of this era was his stint with the Ray Charles Band.
It was the year 1966 when Allan and his brother Michael planted their feet in the St. Louis /East St. Louis area becoming educators in the St. Louis Public School System. Allan followed his passion working in the community with the youth from the bi-state area; where he formed a profound performing arts cadre by the name of the Young Disciples “YODI.” Their first debuton Halloween in 1967 from there they went on to record such songs as Bang, Bang, Bang, Choose Me, I’m Your Man, Love, Love, Love and I’m Not Afraid of Love. Allan later returned to Tennessee State where he received his music degree in 1987.
Allan set high standards of excellence as a teacher in St. Louis Public Schools. He devoted an exuberant amount of energy producing superior bands. He participated in the St. Louis Public Schools Instrumental Music Adjudication Festival and received many honors from: St. Louis Public Schools, The St. Louis Division of the FBI for his support and musical participation in Black History Programs. In addition to theDeacon Board of Cote Brilliant Presbyterian Church, and the prestigious “Distinguished Service Award,” from Metro 8. Allan also performed with the 7th Music Society, University City Concert Band, Allan & Friends and The Jazz Edge.
In 1995, Allan was united in holy matrimony to the love of his life Marsha Watson Merry (who preceded him in death). He leaves behind his brothers Michael, Patrick and his sister Katie. Allan was a proud father who hated the word step-child or stepfather, therefore, his beautiful live will forever be cherished by his children Shawn, Eina, Ja-Mes Watson II (Toiya), Ja-Renda Watson and Ja-Nene Watson. He also leaves behind his beloved grandsons Ja-Mes III (Timetria), Shimone and granddaughters Ma-Rod, Mihia and great grandchildren Ja-Mes IV, Jade, Harlem and Milah. Host of nieces and nephews.
He attended St. John’s Episcopal Church – Tower Grove. The Rev. Dr. Warren Crews and Rev. Sally Weaver are the Interim Priests with Rev. Kevin McGrane serving as the church Deacon.
Allan spent well over 50 years in Music and Education. He touched so many people and lives of all ages; from students, friends, colleagues, family, neighbors and church members. He never met a stranger, he left us with so many funny stories, fond memories, conversations, laughs and cries. He was truly loved and will be greatly missed! He was so grateful for the special bond he had with his children and grandchildren; especially with his daughter Ja-Nene who remained by his side honoring his final wishes until the Lord called him home.
Allan quietly departed this life on June 15th 2020. He was a very talented and passionate person that inspired those who crossed his path. Allan Preston Merry will be truly and deeply missed by all who knew him!
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