The Daily Item
NORTHUMBERLAND — After a brief illness, John O. “Jack” Mertz passed away at home lovingly cared for by his family. He was 77.
Born to Byron M. Mertz and Laura Dailey Mertz, of Shamokin, Jack was adopted and raised by his uncle and aunt, Blair and Kate (Bloskey) Mertz. He lived all his life in Northumberland and Point Township.
Jack graduated in 1953 from Northumberland High School, where he played football and was a standout basketball player.
He married his high school sweetheart, Eleanor Phillips, and they recently celebrated their 60th anniversary. They raised four children, John Blair Byron, who passed away in 2003, Lisa Marie Daly (fiance Aaron Hughes), of Newville, Steven Ross (husband of Karen Ferster Mertz), of Sunbury, and Ann Louise (wife of Anthony Stanton), of Pittsburgh. They also were blessed with four grandchildren, Jared Daly, Brianna Daly, Jessica Mertz and Amanda Mertz; two stepgrandchildren, Megan Stanton and Alex Stanton; and two great-grandchildren, Orion Mertz and Julianna Kline.
After high school, Jack earned a business degree from the Central Pennsylvania Business School in 1955 and went to work for Hall’s Motor Transit Co. in Sunbury as an accountant. When the company eventually relocated, Jack chose to keep his family in Northumberland and was hired by ButterKrust Baking Co. as its controller. He stayed with ButterKrust for 35 years until his retirement at age 71.
Jack was a member of Northumberland Seventh-day Adventist Church and believed firmly in the seventh-day Sabbath and in the second coming of Christ. He taught the Sabbath School lesson for a number of years and served as church pianist for about 45 years.
Spending much of his free time at home playing piano, especially classical, boogie woogie, hymns and old standards, Jack taught his children to love music as he did. He also enjoyed American history, particularly regarding World War II, and going to the Sunbury YMCA.
In addition to his wife and children, Jack is survived by his sisters and brothers, Lucille Dimmick, Russell Mertz, Frances Weaver, Kenneth Mertz, Lois Walburn and Thomas Mertz.
Preceding Jack in death were all four of his parents and his siblings, Dorothy Sturr (daughter of Blair and Kate), Byron M. Mertz, Ruth Snyder, Rachel Raker, Joseph Mertz Sr. and Marjorie Stametz.
Jack always put his family first and instilled in his children the values of honesty, integrity and responsibility.
A visitation will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the Joseph W. Epler Funeral Home, 210 King St., Northumberland, followed by a memorial service to honor his life at 11 with Pastor John Peters officiating.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Jack’s honor be made to the Sunbury YMCA.