There was nothing stuffy or formal about John Clarke Mercer, so his obituary won’t be either.
Here’s what you need to know about John; he was funny, kind, smart, a great co-worker, an amazing mentor, a proud member of this community, he loved everything from Jimi Hendrix to The Beatles, while being a Rockstar himself. He was a talented musician who had a band with his closest friends, “Static” even took the stage at Riverbend, and he’d never let you forget it. More than anything John was a devoted dad to Delaney and Madison who adore their father. He collapsed form a sudden cardiac event and fought to come back to his girls for six days, before he went to be with his mom, dad, and sister who preceded him.
John was born in Indiana to Walter and Diane in 1964. John, his parents, and his sister Beth moved to Seattle where John went to high school. John went to college at WASU, the Edward R Murrow School of Journalism. Guess that explains why he was such a good reporter, not just a great anchor. John’s first job as an anchor was at KOBI in Medford, Oregon. He would like you to know it’s pronounced OR-ih-gun, not or-EE-gone. John found his calling as an anchor in Medford, he had to run the prompter himself and read the words on the teleprompter all while hearing every word that was said in the control room through his ear piece. No wonder he became such an unflappable anchor. In Medford he covered everything from that infamous slow speed chase of a white Bronco in southern California to massive flooding, to the Oregon (if you just said it correctly in your head you made him smile) House of Mystery.
He then spent eight years as an anchor at KTVN in Reno, Nevada, he would like you to know it’s pronounced Nev-AD-uh not Nev-AH-da. John covered the floods of 1997, working for 48 hours straight, with only short naps on the floor of a conference room only to come home to find out the dog had gotten into the child proofed cupboard and strewn powdered sugar all over the house, the neighbors taking care of the dog weren’t able to clean up the mess. He regularly spent hours at the anchor desk covering the numerous wildfires. It was while in Nevada (if you just said it correctly in your head you made him smile) that the best thing in his life happened. On a late June afternoon, as yet another wildfire burned, the lights of his life came into this world. John was a devoted father from the moment his twin girls were born, playing his guitar to soothe them, doing anything to hear their sweet baby giggles, boy could he make them laugh, and that never changed in the 20, too short, years they had him.
In 2003 John got a job offer from WDEF in Chattanooga, Tennessee, where he immediately fell in love with the lush green that reminded him of Seattle, without the constant rain, and the friendliness of the people in the Tennessee Valley. He wore a lot of hats at WDEF, he was an anchor, a producer, a trainer, a mentor, and most importantly a friend. He gave great advice with kindness and humor. Chattanooga was home and WDEF was his second family. He adopted his dog Reno from Pet Placement Center and rescued two cats who were lucky enough to wander to a house where two little girls who wanted a kitty lived, with their very sweet dad. He helped raise money for countless charities and was giving with his time because he loved nothing more than to make his community smile. John loved covering the education beat, in part because he had two daughters in school.
When the girls were in school John would come to have lunch with them, he was the dad who always came in to read to the class during library time. He came to every performance and kept so many of those little programs. In middle school he made sure their hair was curled for their first dance. When his girls went far away to college, to Loyola and Chapman Universities, he missed them terribly but was so incredibly proud of their confidence and the hard work that earned them the scholarships to make it possible. He called them every day, and would jokingly yell at them when they didn’t answer. Though John left much too soon in his life, and theirs, Delaney and Madison are grateful that they got to know him as not just their dad, but as their best friend.
John is still a devoted father, it took less than 24 hours after the girls asked him for a very specific sign, he sent it and in a way they could hold onto forever. Now that’s a dad.
Delaney and Madison hope to have a celebration at some point in the future. John would want everyone to come together and share stories, but he would want everyone to be able to come together safely. Thank you to everyone for the outpouring of support.
John, you are forever loved and will be forever missed.
Arrangements entrusted to Lane Funeral Home, 601 Ashland Terrace, Chattanooga, TN 37415. www.lanefh.com 423-877-3524