John L. Mertz | Obituary - Republic-Times | News

John L. Mertz | Obituary

By on March 21, 2018 at 11:00 am

John Leonard Mertz, 83, died March 5, 2018, in Lehigh Acres, Fla.

He was born Nov. 22, 1934, in Hecker, son of the late Leonard and Hilda Mertz (nee Wilhelms).

He married the former Mary Sybil Croxton on March 23, 1957; in Shawneetown; eight children were born to their union. She preceded him in death.

John graduated from Waterloo High School and after spending a year at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, he volunteered for service with the U.S. Army. He received his basic training at Camp Chaffee, Ark., and served as a paratrooper, earning his “jump wings” at Ft. Campbell, Ky.

He served with the 11th Airborne, the 5-8 Parachute Infantry Regiment, the 101st Airborne, and the 82nd Airborne. During the time he served with the airborne units, he was an artillery specialist.

John served in the continental United States, Germany, Japan, Korea and Vietnam. 

Following his return from Vietnam, John was an Army Recruiter in Decatur. After more than 20 years of service to his country, John retired as a Sergeant First Class, E-7 in Decatur in 1973.

After retirement from the military, John and  his family lived in Decatur, where John worked for Caterpillar Tractor Co., for several years until retiring from Caterpillar and moving to Lehigh Acres, where he lived until his passing.

John was a master mason and belonged to the Red Bud Masonic Lodge for more than 50 years.

He is survived by his children John and Rosemary Mertz, Ingrid and Robert Blum, Donald and Marion Mertz, Anna and Robert Jeffery, Mary and John Hackert, Leonard and Jill Mertz, and Rhonda and Joseph Jarman; brothers Paul (Ruth) Mertz and James (Dianne) Mertz; along with grandchildren, great-grandchildren, nieces and nephews.

John was preceded in death by his parents; wife; daughter Sandra Mertz; parents-in-law Leslie and Treva Croxton. 


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