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Celebration of Life for Roger Gaston Mercier, Sr.

Roger Gaston Mercier, Sr.

1944 – February 6, 2024

Surrounded by his family, Roger Gaston Mercier Sr passed away peacefully on February 6, 2024, at his daughter and son-in-law’s home in La Canada, California after a short battle with a rare aggressive form of cancer.

Roger was a son, husband, papa, teacher, coach, grandfather, and friend who will always be remembered for his generosity, his great sense of humor, and his unwavering commitment to his students, friends, and family.

Roger was born in Montreal, Quebec to Darie and Jeanne Mercier in 1944. He was the oldest, followed by three siblings, Michelin, Arleen, and Rick. In 1953, the family moved to Squamish, British Columbia, just north of Vancouver. Roger spoke only French at the time and struggled at first in the English only school. And while he learned English, later moving to the USA, Roger remained a life-long and very proud French Canadian.

Roger was a very fit and active person his whole life. In high school, despite a congenital ankle defect, he was a track and field star. In 1962, he was a top Canadian high jumper, earning him multiple college scholarship offers. In 1968, he joined the Canadian International Team and competed across Europe in the high jump, long jump, and triple jump.

Even when not competing, Roger was always on the move, usually outside. After college, his love of the outdoors meant taking his family on many camping trips, golfing with his buddies, looking for the best fishing spot in the Sierras, and cutting wood to heat the home. His love of sports made him a dedicated fan of his teams: Montreal Canadiens, LA Dodgers, and Fresno State Bulldogs.

With encouragement from his parents, Roger left Squamish in 1963 to attend Santa Rosa Junior College on a track scholarship; the first person in his family to attend college. This changed Roger’s life in many ways; none more than a fateful blind date on an ice rink with a young beauty Rosa Consuelo Jordan in early 1966. As a Canadian, he was a natural on skates, while Consuelo used her excuse as a Chilean to fall into his arms as often as she could. It was love at first sight, and they were married in December of the same year in Point Arena, California.

Also in 1966, Roger transferred to University of the Pacific in Stockton where he earned his bachelor’s degree in 1969. While at University of the Pacific, Roger held the high jump school record and was subsequently inducted into their Hall of Fame.

While he was touring Europe in 1968 with the Canadian Track team, Consuelo stayed in Squamish and gave birth to their first child, Denise. Denise was followed in short order by Yvette, Roger Jr, and Jason. Later, after his children were married, he would tell everyone that he didn’t have four children – he had eight.

Roger began his teaching and coaching career at Barstow High School in 1969. In 1984, Roger and his family left Barstow for Oakhurst, where he taught and coached at Yosemite High School. He was a well-liked and respected teacher, but his real passion was coaching. At both schools, he was the head basketball and track team coach, as well as assistant coach on the football team. He was always able to see the potential in students that they often could not see themselves. His technique was about nurturing emerging talent and building a base of strong values.

Image of the Yosemite High School logo.Years later, many students would reach out to Roger thanking him for the positive impact he had in their lives. With Consuelo also working in the school district, Roger and Consuelo built a strong community with fellow teachers throughout the area. He remained a proud Yosemite Badger even after retiring from teaching and coaching in 2000.

Roger was renowned for his sense of humor. His quick wit meant that all his friends had to stay on their toes to keep up. Always the good natured Canadian, he was never afraid to make fun of himself or to just appear silly. On the golf course or at the backyard BBQ, his friends could rely on Roger to make them laugh.

Never one to sit still in retirement, Roger put most of his energies into his nine grandchildren. Always the entertainer, he was quick to dance, tell a story, or “spit” out a frog for them at any moment. Their Oakhurst home was a grandkid’s delight, filled with long hikes, boating on the lake, jumping in piles of leaves, playing with boston terriers, collecting fresh eggs from the chicken coop, and sneaking ice cream in the basement. Mostly, it was filled with love.

His Catholic faith was a big part of Roger’s life. He rarely missed a mass. He was a 40-year member of Our Lady of the Sierra Catholic Church, where he was a leader of the financial assistance and food pantry ministries. At church, in the community, and at home, Roger was committed to caring for anyone who needed help. He was also an active Knights of Columbus, always the first one to do the work.

Roger is survived by his wife, Consuelo; his eight children, Denise & Rick, Yvette & Andy, Roger Jr & Cecilia, and Jason & Beth & Maria; his two sisters Michelin and Arleen; and his nine grandchildren Adrian, Hannah, Andrew, Ismael, Kylee, Audrey, Cooper, Caroline, and Quinn; and one great-grandchild, Victoria.

A memorial mass will be held at Our Lady of the Sierra Church in Oakhurst, California at 11:00am on March 16, 2024. There will be a rosary before the mass at 10:30am. In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to causes important to Roger:

The Wounded Warrior Project

The Sandy Hook Promise Foundation

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