Dr. Kathryn Elizabeth Mercer (nee Harrell)

August 26, 1954 – May 4, 2019

Dr. Kathryn Harrell Mercer passed away in Redlands, California on May 4, 2019.

Kathryn was born in Ft. Worth, Texas on August 26, 1954. She was a Texan through and through. At a young age she was introduced to ballet, which became a lifelong passion. She was a professional ballet dancer, most notably with the Ballet de Marseille, into her early 20s. After leaving the ballet world, Kathryn earned her undergraduate degree in Texas and then graduated from University of Texas Southwestern Medical School in 1987.

After residency at Monmouth Medical Center in New Jersey, she settled in the San Francisco Bay Area practicing as an obstetrician/gynecologist, primarily in Palo Alto, for 21 years, as Dr. Kathryn Matthews for most of that time. She enjoyed nothing better than participating in the joyous event of a birth, and she loved spending time with and getting to know her patients. She retired from her medical practice in 2013.

Kathryn was a pet lover her entire life having raised and pampered numerous dogs, cats and sundry animals over the years. At the time of her death, she was parenting three dogs, three cats and seven ducks. Rosco, Bentley, Olive, Isis, Norman and Layla (not to mention seven ducks) will miss her gentle touch.

Her mother Inez Beale Harrell and her husband Scott Mercer, both of Redlands survive Kathryn. She is also survived by her children Jessica Matthews (Jonathan Tirrell), Max Matthews and Rachel Matthews, stepson Michael Mercer (Bethany) as well as her brother Travis Harrell (Katherine), her niece, Aimee Etier, and nephews, Noel Etier and Ben Harrell.

Those who wish to remember Kathryn should consider donating to the animal welfare agency of your choice, while humming “Deep In The Heart of Texas.”


  1. I am deeply saddened to hear of Kathryn’s passing. She welcomed my only son into this world and was a great friend and advisor before and after that. I never had a better physician and was so sad when she decided to retire. I took some relief in knowing that she was going to have a pleasant and relaxing retirement. She was such a special person. I am sure her children and husband know better than I what a singular human being she was. A truly outstanding physician and an even better human being. I am sure she is dancing in heaven now. RIP Kathryn. You are missed by many.

  2. As Julie says, Dr. Matthews delivered my biological son (I have an adopted one as well). She was hesitant to take my case, as I moved back from Hong Kong at 7.5+ months pregnant, but a close friend referred me, and Dr. Matthews enjoyed challenge, we connected on fitness, as it’s what I do now, and she delivered my now 21 year old as the last baby at Stanford hospital at 11pm of that year (tax break). I remember her words “Push him out, I want to spend New Year’s with my son”, as that is her unbelievable humor. She is an outstanding physician and I am so saddened by the news. RIP from all of us!

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