John Frederick Mertz, 73, of Lansing, MI died with his two daughters by his side on Sunday, June 19, 2022, after a courageous and dignified battle with metastatic urothelial cancer.
John was born on April 4, 1949 to Carl and Mary Jane (Castrop) Mertz. He attended Michigan State University where he earned his undergraduate Bachelor of Arts degree and was a brother of Phi Kappa Theta. He continued his education at Wayne State University Law School, where he earned his Juris Doctorate. John often successfully represented the underdog. In his own words, he helped his clients achieve justice, equity, dignity, and respect. He liked to spend his free time participating in a MI law listserve, where his colleagues described his contributions as thoughtful, practical, ethical, and brilliant.
A man of integrity, John was a humanitarian and felt a strong civic responsibility to participate in bettering his community after serving as President of the Lansing Jaycees. John's notable community involvement includes serving as a Chairman of the Board of Ethics, Charter President of the Lansing Eastside Economic Development Corporation, Charter President of Foster Your Neighborhood, and President of the Eastside Commercial Coalition. In 2004, John was inducted into the Greater Lansing Area Sports Hall of Fame along with the rest of the 1966 Gabriels High School football team for their undefeated season.
His empathy and compassion were recognizable in the way he cared about the animals that seemed to gravitate towards him. He opened his door for many animals that needed food or shelter and enjoyed keeping the neighborhood birds and squirrels fed year round. Some of John's favorite things included dessert before dinner, his weekly golf league, and growing his extensive home library.
Naturally, family was always an important aspect of John's life. One of his hobbies was researching genealogy. He spent many hours carefully combing through and compiling records and took extra care to maintain family burial plots. As a child, he and his family traveled to Missouri in the summer to visit their cousins. John made it a priority to stay in touch with his extended family and as an adult he enjoyed traveling to Missouri to attend the annual "boys only" event held each November, affectionately called "ATF." Of all of his accomplishments in life, he would say that the single greatest was raising his two daughters and witnessing them start families of their own. As his daughters liked to remind him, only the best Dads get promoted to Grandpa.
John was preceded in death by his parents, his brother William "Bill" Mertz, and his grandson, Sullivan Arlen. He is survived by his daughters, Meredith Mertz (fiancé Benjamin Payne) and Erica Mertz (Matt Ohrstrom); his siblings Carol Olmstead, Peter (Carolyn) Mertz, and Mary Mertz-Smith (Gavin Smith); grandchildren Jameson Arlen, Adrian Mertz, Lucas Ohrstrom, August Arlen, Jasper Arlen, Coraline Arlen, and Remington Payne; wonderful nephews and nieces and a great-niece and great-nephew; the mother of his daughters, Heather (Rob) Wing; and his beloved dog, Goody.
A Celebration of Life for John will be held on July 17, 2022 from 2-6pm in the Hillside Room at the Eagle Eye Golf and Banquet Center, 15500 Chandler Rd #3, Bath Twp, MI 48808.
Please feel free to bring two copies of your favorite photo of John. In lieu of flowers, John's daughters are accepting contributions towards constructing a memorial bench at Soldan Dog Park. To view John's personalized guestbook please visit " target="_blank">https://facebook.com/events/s/celebration-of-life-for-john-f/1994281730770836/