January 21, 1931 –
January 28, 2022
Born January 21, 1931, a Crawford County native, Homer Malcolm Mershon always looked beyond his farming roots. The local two-room Dicksonburg school provided him with ample opportunities to explore geography and math and to learn and teach from other students more fluently than in a traditional school.
This duality of learning and teaching shaped Homer’s life’s work and opened up surprising possibilities for him. From Conneaut Valley High School and Erie Business College to the Army Language School’s Bulgarian program and a cosmopolitan Bachelor of Foreign Service from Georgetown University in 1958, Homer continually explored new disciplines, including quantum physics and mechanics. He studied speech transcription at the University of Geneva in Switzerland and acquired proficiency in Russian at two Paris universities, where trilingual teachers helped him discover his theory of language: “the centrality of the core of the circle from which language radiates”.
Shortly after returning to the United States in 1962, Homer was badly injured in a car accident. He recovered to teach French and Russian at Linesville High School in 1963-65. When he enrolled at Edinboro State College for summer studies, the college asked him to teach the French language and culture.
Homer continued to expand his education throughout his 35-year career at Edinboro. He earned an MA in French Language and Literature from UMass and won a National Defense Education Act Linguistics Studies Grant from Rice University. His Russian certificate from Leningrad University in 1985 helped revitalize Edinboro’s Russian program. The highlight of his 1988-89 sabbatical was interpreting during his family’s month-long peace march through the USSR and Ukraine with 500 Anglophones and Soviets of various ages. Almost every semester from 1990 to 2000 he wrote new insights into language teaching in his French and Russian class guides. Students remember him as an outspoken tutor and mentor with a “little” sense of humor and a crime savant in his pocket.
Homer enjoyed 21 fruitful years after retirement reading, writing, and speaking about language production and acquisition. Drawn to the story, he found Mershon’s genealogy fascinating. Homer fulfilled travel dreams by visiting his son in Mali, sailing down the Egyptian Nile, and serving as a friend’s guide and interpreter on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Mongolia to Moscow. He celebrated his 80th birthday by touring northern China and practicing the Chinese he learned in Edinboro. Particularly proud of his poultry, vegetables, and flowers, Homer continued to garden and farm full-time even when cancer stunted him. He thanked Dr. Pasricha and the Barco Center staff for their care. On January 28, 2022, he peacefully slipped home.
Homer is survived by Clémence Ravaçon Mershon, his 46-year-old wife, who works with the language, their son André Mershon (Kristin O’Planick), and grandchildren Alexander and Vivienne Mershon, and daughter Claire-Hélène Mershon (Paul Hibbert). Other survivors include sisters-in-law Joyce Mershon and Judy Mershon, numerous cousins, nieces and nephews.
He survived his parents Ronald and Georgia Stanford Mershon and siblings Millard, Geraldine, Helen, John. Homer’s life is later celebrated as the teacher, as always, resides his body at the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine. Memorial donations may be made to the Student Hardship Fund, Edinboro University Advancement Office, 210 Meadville St., Edinboro, PA 16444
The arrangements have been entrusted to the care of MCCAULEY FUNERAL HOME, 1405 Main St. Conneautville, PA 16406.
Online condolences can be left for the family at www.mccauleyfuneralhome.net
Published on February 18, 2022