Tom Mertz, 69, passed away on August 24th, 2021. He is survived by his loving wife, Melanie (nee Holthaus), his devoted son Todd (Patsy), loving daughter Dianna (Ian), cherished "G-Pa" of four grandchildren: Riley, Piper, Ber, and Ingrid; and caring brother "Rudy"-Bill (Clare). He is also survived by many loving nephews and nieces who affectionately called him "UT" (Uncle Tom). He was preceded in death by his brothers Robert and George, and sisters Marilyn and Catherine.
Tom's life revolved around his immediate and extended family. His family was his world—as exemplified by unparalleled devotion. This was his greatest gift and legacy. He made them all feel truly loved and cherished.
He enjoyed traveling with family, visiting national parks (24!), attending his granddaughters' softball and soccer games, playing with his 2-year-old grandson, and holding his new baby granddaughter. He was also close with his childhood friends and neighbors. Tom loved serving others--he always assisted anyone who needed help. Everyone loved Tom's laidback, easy-going demeanor and incredibly friendly personality.
Tennis was a favorite pastime and Tom served on the tennis board at his local swim and tennis club. He was also an enthusiastic nature lover and an astute observer of birds of all kinds. An avid aquarist, Tom enjoyed tending to his aquariums of freshwater fish and aquatic plants. Hostas were always found in Tom's yard, which was a favorite gathering spot for many family occasions. Bike riding and gardening were favorite activities. And no one loved getting into lakes and pools more than Tom—he loved "submerging," as he would call it.
Tom grew up in Westmont and played Little League baseball and football. Later he played collegiate hockey. He met his wife at Benedictine University and they recently celebrated their 46th wedding anniversary.
Tom remained remarkably upbeat, positive, and optimistic right up to the end. His gift to all of us was his tireless example of how to deal with adversity and challenges—always with courage, positive energy, and determination.
Think of Tom the next time a red fox runs through your yard, a Cooper's Hawk sweeps through the trees, a Great Horned owl calls at dusk, cicadas singing in August, a rising full moon, or a hummingbird hovering on nearby flowers—all enchanting nature events that Tom knew well and cherished.
In lieu of flowers, donations to The Nature Conservancy would be appreciated. Or, Tom would be honored to know that a tree was planted, a bird feeder hung, or a bird bath filled and freshened in his memory.
Visitation: Monday, August 30th 3:00pm – 8:00 pm at Adams Winterfield & Sullivan Funeral Home. 4343 Main Street, Downers Grove, IL 60515. 630.968.1000
Funeral Service: Tuesday, August 31st 11:00am at Adams Winterfield & Sullivan Funeral Home
Published by Suburban Life Publications from Aug. 26 to Sep. 2, 2021.