James Anthony Mertes

Mertes, James Anthony

James Anthony Mertes, age 79, of 310 17th Ave N Wisconsin Rapids, died Saturday November 24, 2012 at Riverview Hospital in Wisconsin Rapids.

Funeral services will be held at 11:00 AM Friday at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Catholic Church in Wisconsin Rapids. Fr. Sahayanathan Nathan will officiate. Burial will be in Fairview Cemetery in the Town of Sherry, Wood County, Wisconsin. Friends may call at the Ritchay Funeral Home in Wisconsin Rapids from 4:00-8:00 PM on Thursday and at the church from 10:00-11:00 AM Friday. A rosary service will be held at 7:30 PM Thursday at the funeral home.

James was born November 7, 1933 in Nekoosa, WI to Aloysius and Aurelia (Kleifgen) Mertes. He married Shirley Vruwink on August 25, 1956 in Wisconsin Rapids. Jim and Shirley were married for 56 years. Jim was employed at Nekoosa Papers (Georgia Pacific) for 41 years, retiring in 1996.

Jim was a member of the Catholic Order of Foresters, and the St. Mary's Men's Choir. He regularly attended services at the Marian Center Chapel. Jim enjoyed the peacefulness of the outdoors spending time hiking, hunting and fishing. He was keenly interested in history and was an avid reader. By far, James' greatest joy came from spending time with his family, especially leading his children and grandchildren on inspiring outdoor adventures. He loved to play any type of game with family and friends, and his hearty laugh brought smiles to all. Jim will also always be remembered for his creative storytelling, delighting his audiences, old and young alike.

Jim is survived by his wife Shirley, eight children Nancy (Jeffrey) Pepp of Wisconsin Rapids, Michael (Karen) Mertes of Hammond, IN, Mark (Mary) Mertes of Wisconsin Rapids, Steven Mertes of Rochester Hills, MI, James J. (Colleen) Mertes of Oconomowoc, William (Elizabeth) Mertes of Deerfield, IL, Richard Mertes of Wauwatosa and Charles (Nicole) Mertes of Loveland, OH. Also survived by 17 grandchildren Kaitlyn, Ryan, Kyle, Alexander, Olivia, Stephanie, Nicholas, Jacob, Emily, Brenna, Mackenzie, Jackson, Madeline, Audrey, Owen, Sydney, and Sawyer. Further survived by one brother Aloysius (friend Lois) Mertes of Stevens Point, four sisters Barbara (Richard) Tork of Wisconsin Rapids, Sister Helene Mertes of Milwaukee, Rosemary (Richard) Wilson of Beloit, Elizabeth (James) Campbell of Eau Claire, brothers-in-law William (Joan) Vruwink, Howard Vruwink, Ira Vruwink, James Vruwink, and sisters-in-law Carol (Thomas) Hanneman and Margie Schenk.

He was preceded in death by his parents, two brothers Arthur and Kenneth Mertes, infant brother Thomas Mertes and brothers-in-law Donald, Edward, and Lewis Vruwink.


Published in Wisconsin Rapids Daily Tribune on Nov. 27, 2012