Dan Mertz, 91, of Columbia died Saturday, Jan. 18, 2020, at Truman Veterans’ Hospital. No memorial service will be held at Dan’s request.

Dan Mertz was born Sept. 19, 1928, in St. Marys, Ohio, the second child of Ernest and Martha Post Mertz. After he graduated from high school in 1946, Dan joined the U.S. Navy, spending the next three years on and off a naval ship, sailing around the world.

In 1949, he started school at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, beginning a long educational career that took him to study abroad at Sorbonne University in Paris and Université Laval in Quebec City. His extensive studies ultimately earned him his bachelor’s degree in botany from Miami University, and he ultimately received his doctorate in plant physiology at the University of Texas at Austin in 1960.

While in Austin, he met and married Betty Tanner, and they had their first child together. After finishing his studies in Texas, Dan moved his family to Columbia to accept a job as a professor of biological sciences at MU. He taught until his retirement in 1991.

During his tenure at MU, Dan received four Fulbright-Hays Scholarships as a professor of plant physiology at the University of Glasgow, two at the University of Dakar in Senegal and another at Hassan II University in Rabat, Morocco.

In his retirement, Dan enjoyed traveling extensively, exploring all around the world with his second wife, Sally Lynn Mertz. They spent their time in Columbia surrounded by friends and family and their beloved dogs.

Dan is survived by his three children, Jodelle (Douglas) Gayou, Daniel (Pamela) Mertz and Brenda Mertz, all of Columbia; stepdaughter, Wendy (Ken) Yelton; grandchildren, Audrey and Scott Gayou, Emily Woodruff and Maria Mertz, Madison Mertz and Benjamin Yelton, all of Columbia; great-grandchildren, Isla and Eloise Woodruff; sister Marilyn (Paul) Smith of St. Marys, Ohio; sister-in-law, Mary Mertz of Lima, Ohio. His parents; brothers, Richard and Wendell; sister Jeanette; and wife Sally Mertz preceded him in death.

Arrangements are under the direction of Parker-Millard Funeral Service & Crematory, 12 E. Ash St. Condolences may be left online for the family at www.ParkerMillard.com.

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