The former Kathleen Elizabeth Schlesser was born June 24, 1917, on the family farm near Struble, the daughter of John and Julia (O'Hare) Schlesser. She grew up near Struble and attended rural school for her elementary years. She attended high school at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Le Mars, graduating in 1934. Kay married John C. Mertes on Nov. 24, 1942 at the Post Chapel at Shepherd Field in Wichita Falls, Texas. Following her husband's discharge from the military service in 1945, the couple made their home in Merrill.
Kay was a longtime member of Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Merrill.
Survivors include her husband John "Clem" Mertes of Merrill; four children: Joan Yoerger and her husband Stan of rural Merrill, Ken Mertes of Onawa, Doug Mertes and his wife Jane A. Mertes of Merrill, and Mark Mertes and his wife Mary Ellen of Sibley; six grandchildren: Alise Allan, Erin Philipp, Adam Yoerger, Patrick Mertes, Michael Mertes and Katie Mertes; two great-grandchildren, Kiley & Brady Allan, and a Mertes' great-grandchild on the way; and a sister, Mary Vander Molen and her husband Lloyd of Struble.
She was preceded in death by her parents; a son Bill Mertes; a sister Regina Raynor; and three brothers, Milo, Jack and Ed Schlesser.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m. Tuesday at Assumption Catholic Church in Merrill with the Rev. Roger Linnan presiding. Burial will be in the parish cemetery.
Visitation will be after 3 p.m. today (Monday) at Assumption Church in Merrill, where there will be a Scriptural wake service at 7 p.m. Visitation will also be for one hour prior to the Mass on Tuesday at the church.
The Feuerstein Funeral Home in Le Mars is taking care of arrangements.