Ralph Fred Mertz, 85, of College Station, died Feb. 10 at his home of 20 years, Magnified Health & Rehab of Anderson. A memorial service will be held at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 24, at A&M United Methodist Church.
Born June 27, 1927, in Rochester, N.Y., he was the son of Friederick Mertz and Pauline Dilger, immigrants from Winterbach, Germany, who became reacquainted after arriving in the U.S. and were married in New York. Ralph Mertz was graduated from Haverstraw High School in 1944. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on June 1, 1944, and studied engineering at the New York State Maritime Academy (now known as State University of New York Maritime College), the oldest maritime college in the country. He graduated with the Class of ’47 and received his commission as an Ensign.
A submariner, he served aboard the U.S.S. Sablefish out of New London, Conn., and rose to the rank of Lieutenant by the time of his discharge in 1953. He continued to serve in the Navy Reserve for several years. After leaving the Navy, Mr. Mertz earned a Master of Mechanical Engineering from Brooklyn Polytechnic Institute and worked as a licensed professional engineer.
He married Claire Heinig on October 14, 1950. They eventually settled in Valley Cottage, N.Y., where they raised five children. Mrs. Mertz died in 1974.
Mr. Mertz relocated to Tampa, Fla., and married Susan Clark in 1978. They divorced in 1987. While living in Apollo Beach, Fla., he began work on a Ph.D. at the University of South Florida. In July 1992 he suffered a debilitating stroke, and in August that year he came to live near his son in College Station.
Mr. Mertz is survived by his five children: Lisa Mertz and her partner, Cathy Bruce, of Pittsburgh, Pa.; Robert Mertz and his wife, Barb, of Austin; Paul “Max” Mertz and his wife, Liz, of College Station; Mark Mertz of Aptos, Calif.; and Peter “Lewis” Mertz of Mill Rift, Pa.; ten grandchildren: Matthew Mertz and his wife, Shara, of LaCrosse, Ind.; Jason Edwards and his wife, Tracy, of Fredericksburg, Va.; Claire Smith and her husband, Jacob, of Rusk; Louisa Harper and her husband, Chris, of Yoakum; Sallie Wester and her husband, Jeremy, of Pearland; Jenna and Abby Mertz of Austin; Sophie and Emma Mertz of West Linn, Ore.; and Noelle Mertz-Bruce of Pittsburgh, Pa; six great-grandchildren; and members of the Mertz, Dilger and Walter families still in Germany.
The family is grateful for the care Mr. Mertz received over the last 20 years from the many employees of the facility now known as Magnified Health & Rehab of Anderson.
Memorial donations may be made to the United Methodist campus ministry at The Wesley Foundation at Texas A&M, P.O. Drawer K, College Station, TX 77841.
View his Book of Memories™ at CallawayJones.com