Zena Carol Mann Merrill Elmore, 91, peacefully passed away, Saturday, September 16, 2017 in St. Johns, following a 13 year battle with dementia. Zena was born April 20, 1926 in Springerville. She was the oldest daughter of Laura Adamson Mann and Felix Holland Mann. Her sisters were Zelma, Zola, Zane, Laura and a stillborn infant, Elizabeth. She was preceded in death by her parents, her two husbands, sisters, Zelma, Zane, Zola, half-brother, Lydell and half-sister, Alta. Zena was beautiful her entire life and was known for her brilliant smile and pretty, bright brown eyes. She did very well in school as she was very intelligent. She did very well in sports as well and graduated at the top of her class from Round Valley High School in May 1944. Zena married rancher, Hubert J. Merrill, July 21, 1943. Two children were born to them, Hugh A. Merrill, May 14, 1945 and Zola Grace Merrill, January 22, 1950. Following Hubert’s death in April 1951, Zena married Bill Elmore on February 2, 1952. Two children were born to them, David C. Elmore, February 8, 1953 and Karen S. Elmore, December 14, 1954. In May 1954 Zena received a diploma from the National School of Dress Design for completing a course in costume designing, fashion sketching, pattern drafting, cutting and fitting. Zena began college in her 40’s and attended Arkansas Tech and graduated from NAU with a BA in Elementary Ed in May 1972. Her student teaching was at Dilcon on the Navajo Reservation. She loved her little Navajo students. She taught grades K-3 at the one-room school in Woodruff and 1st and 2nd grades at Round Valley Elementary. She taught 1st grade in the same room where she attended 1st grade. She taught for 9 years before having to retire after suffering 2 herniated discs from a slip on the ice. She was a wonderful teacher beloved by her students. Following her early retirement from teaching, Zena turned her attention to her love of art. She attended many college art classes and workshops. She became excellent in water colors, following the styles of teaching artists, George Kantupus and Naomi Brotherton, from whom she took classes. Zena’s paintings are unique; varyied in subject and exceptional in quality with catchy titles. Her county fair entries always won 1st place with several best of show awards. She won several places in the NPC Northern Flight Magazine and also won prizes in the Petrified Forest NP art contest with a 1st place on her Agate House painting. One of her paintings was displayed at the renovated Painted Desert Inn for a year. Zena also won an award in an SRP contest with her painting of the tall power line towers which she titled, “White Man’s Kachina”. She and others were honored at a reception in Phoenix where SRP bought her painting for their corporate offices. In 1980 Zena was a contributing artist for the Apache County Centennial Committee book, “Lest Ye Forget”. Her artwork is on the cover as well as several other illustrations. The book was recently reprinted with all of her artwork included. Recently at the age of 91 her paintings have been publicly displayed in the Eagar Town Hall Chambers and the Round Valley Public Library. They are currently displayed with part in the St. Johns Library and part in the Alpine Library. Zena was an excellent cook and fed many, many delicious meals to family and friends. She was an expert seamstress and exceptional artist. She made butter, cheese and ice cream from the family cow. She preserved food by canning and freezing from the abundant gardens Bill raised. Zena was a cooking and sewing instructor for 4-H classes and was a wonderful Cub Scout leader. She worked with the Round Valley Historical Society cataloging pictures. Zena and Bill experienced interesting things prior to his death in 1999: a trip to Canada in 1965 along with son, David; many trips to Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and California to visit family; a month long trip to Australia to visit Hugh’s family in 1985; a trip to Mt. Rushmore, Yellowstone and Yosemite National Parks; many outdoor gatherings and many birthday and holiday parties with good food and music with her family. Zena is survived by her children, Hugh (Diane) Merrill, Wellton; Zola (Rick) Whiting, Eagar; David Elmore, Eagar; Karen (David) Parker, Danville, Arkansas; sister, Laura (Evan) Bigelow, Eagar; 10 grandchildren, 24 great grandchildren and 5 great, great grandchildren. She loved and was beloved by every one of them. Zena was the most wonderful wife, sister, mother, grandmother, aunt and friend. She was well known for her beautiful smile, sense of humor and beautiful silver hair. She was adored by her family and friends. Hinkson Assisted Living took excellent care of Zena for the last 3 years. The family is very grateful to the exceptional staff and facility, as well as Hospice Compassus for their excellent service. A Funeral Service will be held Saturday, September 23, 2017 at 11:00 a.m. at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Amity Building, with visitation one hour prior. Interment will follow the funeral services at the Springerville Cemetery.