Local Optometrist, beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, Dr. M. L. "Mertz" Peterson, of Wausau, passed away on Wednesday, July 09, 2014 at the age of 94.
He was born in Wisconsin Rapids, WI on August 7, 1919 to the late Peter Hans and Margaret Katrina (Petersen) Peterson. Dr. Peterson was the youngest of six children. He graduated from Lincoln High School in 1937 and lived in Wisconsin Rapids until 1939 when a new job brought him to Wausau. There he met his bride-to-be, Arlene Marion Schultz, and they wed on August 17, 1941, at the Little Brown Church in Nashua, Iowa. Shortly thereafter came Pearl Harbor and Mertz joined the Army and was trained as a radioman. He served our country in Europe under Patton's Army with the Black Hawk Division and following the liberation of Europe, in the Philippines, advancing to the rank of Tech Sargent. After returning from service he attended college at the Los Angeles College of Optometry and graduated Summa Cum Laude. He practiced Optometry in Wausau from 1949 until his retirement in 1989.
Dr. Peterson was the Past Commander of American Legion Post #10 and served on its Honor Guard for nearly 30 years. He was a Past President of the Wisconsin Valley Optometric Society and was active in Kiwanis and Golden K. He was a member of the Masonic Forest Lodge #130. Mertz was a member of St. Paul's United Church of Christ Church and served as President, on the church council and many other capacities. He was an avid outdoorsman and enjoyed spending time at their cottage on North Twin Lake and also annual hunting and fishing trips to Canada and South Dakota. Mertz was a member of the Wausau Skeet and Trap Club. Dr. Peterson will be long remembered by many for his engaging personality, his story telling and his ability to make friends where ever he went.
He was preceded in death by his parents and all of his siblings; Violet Peterson, Lottie Berger, Grace Rasmussen, Don Peterson and Madge Smith.
Dr. Peterson is survived by his wife of 72 years, Arlene; and their three children, Marilyn (David) Westenhaver of Omaha NE, Judy Peterson of Wausau and Tom (Lucy) Peterson of Rothschild. Survivors include grandchildren, Sean (Maria) Akers of Omaha NE, Greg (Jan) Akers of Littleton, CO, Mike Peterson of Milwaukee, Heather (Lee) Wudstrack of Tigerton, Connie Nest of Wausau, Janna (Jon) Knickerbocker of Memphis, TN, Jessica (Chris) Barszcz of Green Bay and Zack Burns of Appleton; and great grandchildren, Camille, Lauren and Madeline Akers of Omaha, Katherine and Daniel Knickerbocker of Memphis; and Cameron and Cecelia Barszcz of Green Bay; along with numerous nieces and nephews.
Memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Monday, July 14, 2014 at St. Paul's United Church of Christ, 426 Washington St., Wausau. Rev. Philip Schneider will officiate. Visitation will be held from 9:00 a.m. until the time of service at the church. Interment will be at Restlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Wausau. Brainard Funeral Home is assisting the family with arrangements.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to St. Paul's UCC, 426 Washington St., Wausau, WI 54403 or the Shriner's Hospitals for Children, 2025 East River Pkwy, Minneapolis, MN 55414.
Condolences may be given at www.brainardfuneral.com
Published in the Wausau Daily Herald from July 11 to July 13, 2014