John Clement Mertes was born Nov. 23, 1916, on the family farm near Merrill, the son of John J. and Mary (Mohan) Mertes. He grew up near Merrill and attended elementary school at St. Joseph's Catholic School in Le Mars. He graduated from Liberty Consolidated School, located west of Merrill, in Liberty Township.
Following graduation, he worked at the post office in Merrill, until serving his country with the U.S. Army during World War II.
John C. Mertes married Kathleen "Kay" Schlesser Nov. 24, 1942, at the Post Chapel at Shepherd Field, in Wichita Falls, Texas. While in the service, he was trained as a medic and served as a mail clerk his entire military career. After the war, Clem and Kay returned to Merrill.
Clem worked with the Postal Service and became a full-time rural route carrier in 1947. Clem was awarded a 50-year service pin. He retired in 1986. His wife, Kathleen, died April 21, 2007.
Clem was a member of Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Merrill, and a member of the church board for 11 years. He was also a member of the American Legion, Oleson-Halweg Post #125 and for 25 years was the Sergeant-at-Arms for the post. He also served as Merrill's city clerk for 30 years and was a volunteer fireman for more than a quarter of a century.
Since 1960, he had been a certified watchmaker and enjoyed fixing watches and clocks.
Survivors include three children: Joan Yoerger, and her husband, Stan, of rural Merrill; Ken Mertes of Onawa; and Mark Mertes, and his wife, Mary Ellen, of Sibley; a daughter-in-law, Jane A. Mertes, of Rockwell City; six grandchildren: Alise Allan, Erin Philipp, Adam Yoerger, Patrick Mertes, Michael Mertes and Katie Mertes; and three great-grandchildren: Kiley and Brady Allan and Emily Mertes.
He was preceded in death by his parents; his wife Kathleen; two sons: Doug and Bill Mertes; a brother, James (Red) Mertes; and a sister, Mary Rita McBride.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be at 10:30 a.m., Saturday at Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church in Merrill, with the Rev. Dan Greving officiating. Burial will be in the parish cemetery, with graveside military honors provided by the American Legion, Oleson-Halweg Post #125.
Visitation will be anytime after 3 p.m. today (Friday) at Assumption Catholic Church in Merrill, where there will be a parish rosary at 4 p.m., and a vigil prayer service at 7 p.m. Visitation will resume on Saturday morning at the church, for one hour prior to the funeral Mass.
The Feuerstein Funeral Home in Le Mars is in charge of arrangements.