John Joseph Mertens, 95, passed away peacefully Sunday, November 11, 2018, surrounded by family at The Crossing at Riverside, in Searcy, Arkansas. John was born December 2, 1922 to Era and Walter Mertens in DeValls Bluff, Arkansas, the oldest of 3 children. He graduated from DeValls Bluff High School in 1940.
John worked in many professions during his life, but he talked most about the time he worked in the Civilian Conservation Camps during WWII and was sent to Idaho, where he said he had never been so cold! His all-time favorite job was working on riverboats on the Mississippi River hauling freight from Minneapolis all the way to the Gulf Coast. On December 23, 1948, he married Dolores Elizabeth Newkirk. He said he couldn’t have found a better partner in life – that she was a fine woman and mother. After they married, John worked in many areas, but spent most of his remaining working days as a union carpenter and a dairy farmer. If you knew him, you could easily recognize him in his signature overalls and ball cap – which he wore the rest of his life. He retired from dairy farming in 1987. After retirement, he enjoyed driving around in his truck and catching up with neighbors on the latest happenings, keeping things running on the farm, helping make picture frames with his daughter Sherry, and playing a mean game of dominos with family and friends almost every weekend. He was still driving and mowing his yard up until summer of 2017 when he was diagnosed with cancer, which began a decline in his health, but never curbed his insatiable sweet tooth - lemon cookies and Freddie’s Frozen Vanilla Custard were two of his favorites.
John is survived by his wife of 69 years, Dolores Mertens of Beebe, Arkansas; son, Larry Mertens (Melissa Capps) of Olathe, Kansas; daughter, Sherry (Philip) Pulley of Searcy, Arkansas; son, R.J. Mertens of Richmond, Texas; daughter, April Kincade (Duane Butenschoen) of Richmond, Texas; sister, Ruth Brooks of Bloomfield, Missouri; grandchildren, John and Amanda Pulley, Clayton, Cole, and Cooper Kincade, Gary and Roger Dahn; and numerous extended family members. John was preceded in death by his parents Walter and Era, his sister, Sarah Hawkins, and his daughter-in-law, Margaret R. (Peggy) Mertens.
A grave side service will be held on Friday, November 23, 2018 at Mt. Olive Cemetery, Floyd, Arkansas, at 10:00 a.m.