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Malinda Ann Merritt Temple

January 26, 1935 ~ June 15, 2023 (age 88) 88 Years Old

Malinda Ann Merritt Temple Obituary

Malinda Ann Merritt Temple, age 88, died peacefully at her residence in the country on June 15th.

Born in Marietta, Georgia to the late James Andrew Merritt, Sr. and Inez Cowan Merritt, Malinda

graced this world with her rebellious spirit. A strong-willed and feisty child, for many years

Malinda kept all of East Dixie Avenue on alert. Because her beloved brother was 17 years her

senior, she relished the time spent growing up with her younger Cowan cousins, Stephen II,

Hugh and Mary Clyde as well as her best friend Phyllis. Afternoons were spent at Regina’s Red

and White where she liked to purchase penny candy for her playmates just so she could say

“charge it.” Her fondest and most cherished memories of her youth were visits from her diamond

drenched and fur draped cousin Virginia “The Flamingo” Hill. Much to her mother’s dismay,

Malinda would spend Saturday mornings riding horses with Virginia near Kennesaw Mountain or

Sunday afternoons riding shotgun and smoking Chesterfields around Marietta square with

Virginia in her black Cadillac convertible.

Once she was tall enough for her feet to touch the pedals, Malinda became a fixture at her

father’s car dealership right up until the great joyride of 1948; an incident that resulted in

Malinda totaling a brand new Willys Jeepster from her father’s car lot that remains at the bottom

of the lake to this very day.

After graduating from Marietta High School in 1953, she married Rusell, an airman stationed at

Dobbins AFB. Malinda navigated the intricacies of her new life as a military spouse with grace

and resilience and lived by the motto that “Home is where the military sends us.” During their

time stationed in Norfolk, England at Sculthorpe AFB, they welcomed a daughter.

After almost 30 years of military service and deployments to all corners of the globe, Russell

retired from service and he and Malinda settled in his hometown of Prince George, Virginia and

began adjusting to retirement and civilian life. They purchased a second home on the

Rappahanock River where she loved to catch blue crabs and eat fresh oyster fritters. While

most retirees spent their time traveling and ticking the boxes off their bucket list, Malinda

selflessly put aside her retirement and spent those years raising her daughter’s children.

Malinda was world renowned for her lack of impulsiveness, not holding back her opinion and a

knack for telling it like it is; whether you liked it or not. Being born during the depression, she

was well known for reusing things, whether it was tin foil, plastic containers, cooking grease, or

soapy dish water,she earned the reputation as the queen of recycling before it became


Her regrets were few, her passions were numerous and she knew the value of a stiff drink. She

loved the vocal stylings of Willie Nelson and Julio Iglesias, belly dancing, spending summers by

her pool with her grandchildren, Eugenia Price novels, NASCAR and Varsity chili dogs.

She was a talented and skilled seamstress with a meticulous attention to detail. Thanks to her

friend Ann Tutt, Malinda became highly sought after for her bespoke heirloom christening gowns

that she crafted by hand, with the world’s finest sourced Imperial batiste, French entredeux and

Swiss voile; with each gown taking around 350 hours to complete. She lovingly cultivated and

propagated some of the largest gardenias in the county and enjoyed tending to her private

gardens.Throughout her life she was the recipient of many awards and accolades but she was

most proud of her Fruit Trifle which won second place at the Southern Living Cooking show.

While still in her 80’s, Malinda’s stewardship, advocacy, and direct assistance helped the

Historical Society and the City of Acworth preserve the Cowan legacy during the preservation

and restoration of her grandfather’s homeplace; the oldest structure in Acworth today. She was

a member of the Junior League, the Order of the Eastern Star as well as a DOK member at

Christ Episcopal Church.

Malinda lived a lifetime’s worth of triumph, grit, and grace. She leaves behind a very

dysfunctional family she was immensely proud of, stacks of cool whip containers, pocketbooks

loaded with packets of Sweet and Low and tubes of Elizabeth Arden’s orange cream

Malinda was predeceased by her husband of 64 years, Russell Stuart Temple and her brother J.A. Merritt, II who she loved dearly. Malinda is survived by her daughters, Donna Sloss (John)

and Mindy Hart (John, VI). Grandchildren include Lindsay James and John English Hart in

addition to numerous great grandchildren. She is also survived by her brother’s daughters

Susan Gilstrap (Mitch) and Terri Collis (David) who she infinitely adored, as well as her best

friend of 80 years, Phyllis Hancock Venrick.

For those wishing to make gifts in Malinda’s memory, her family requests donations be made in

her honor to her childhood stomping grounds, The Stephen D. Cowan home place, known as

The Cowan Farmstead, an Acworth historic landmark on the National Register of Historic


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