Ida Mae (Stockman) MertensJanuary 27, 2015
Ida Mae (Stockman) Mertens, age 90, of Westphalia, passed away Friday, January 23, 2015, at Westphalia Retirement Center. She was born November 3, 1924, in Wardsville, Mo., the oldest daughter of Roy and Rose Stockman. She grew up on the family farm and worked at the International Shoe Factory before her marriage to Clement (Bud) T. Mertens on November 3, 1946. Their first years of marriage were spent at Wardsville and Columbia, Mo. In 1954, they bought an 80-acre farm south of McGirk, Mo. and over the next 20 years expanded the farm to 400 acres and developed a leading dairy operation. Ida was an equal partner in the farming operation sharing not only the workload, but also the management decisions for the farm. Bud and Ida were honored for their dairy farming accomplishments by the Missouri Farm Management Program in 1971. After they sold the dairy herd in 1974 and the farm in 1978, they maintained their involvement with the dairy industry by working for the Dairy Herd Improvement Association in Moniteau and Cole counties. Ida also worked at California Convalcare for several years helping those in need of care. Her selfless commitment in caring for others was life-long. She had early responsibility taking care of her brothers and sisters, and later cared for her husband during his struggle with cancer and poor health. In 2003, Bud and Ida moved to Westphalia Retirement Center, where she died January 23, 2015, after 20 years of struggle with multiple strokes. No matter the burden, Mom's indomitable spirit never resulted in complaints and she always responded with grace and dignity - Mom's typical response was "I am doing fine." Mom was the heart and spark in our family. She was the optimist that always found the silver lining in every cloud. She was a happy, fun-loving person, who could even make hard work seem like a game. Mom always involved her children, grandchildren, or visiting nieces and nephews in what she was doing and made each one feel special. She saw the good things in life and in people, and made sure that you appreciated it too. She had a great sense of humor that seemed to lighten your load and show the happy side of life. She inspired everyone around her to be a better person and encouraged her children to do more than they thought possible. Ida was devoted to her children and their education because "it is something that can never be taken from you." Her commitment was exemplified by her willingness to drive the bus for an association of rural parents who wanted their children to attend Annunciation Catholic School. Although she had huge workload at home, she drove a converted panel truck for many years over some of the roughest roads in Moniteau County. When her children wanted to be in 4-H, she volunteered to the 4-H leader. She taught herself everything from dairy cow nutrition to judging so that she could teach her children and others. For this and other service, she was appointed to the Extension Council of Moniteau County and was elected as an Honorary FFA Mother. Mom was there for every speaking contest, quiz bowl, and pageant. She was the one who decided that her eldest son should leave the farm and go to college, and it is fitting legacy that all of her grandchildren have college educations. She was creative and talented, and when combined with her work-ethic, she created a prodigious number of handmade clothes, handicrafts, needlework, crocheted and knitted items. She had an exceptional ability to see an item and then make it from scratch, often better than the origin. She was known especially for her hand-stitched quilts. She made over 100 quilts, not including the ones made while quilting with others at California and Westphalia. Most of her handiwork was freely given to family and friends, but she also made custom quilts that are located in several states and foreign countries. Her gifts are family heirlooms in each of our homes that provide a constant reminder of her love and dedication to her family. Of all her talents, none was more appreciated than the aroma of Mom's homemade bread and baked goods fresh out of the oven! Ida's religious faith was central to her being and she actively participated in services and activities at Annunciation Catholic Church. She was a member of the Church Council, member and chairwomen of the Alter and Rosary Society, member and chairwoman of Annunciation Quilters, and served on numerous parish committees. She served as communion minister, usher, greeter and offertory bearer during mass. Ida was preceded in death by her husband of nearly 65 years and by four brothers, Willard, Dave, Cletus and Lee, and a sister Catherine (Stockman) Mertens. She is survived by her children; David of Belleville, Wis., Theodore (Ted) of Brodhead, Wis., Karen (Mertens) Gerke of Sedalia, Mo. and Beverly (Mertens) Riley of Madison, Mo.; by six grandchildren, two step-grandchildren and four great- grandchildren and three step-great-grandchildren; and by two brothers, Fred and Francis and one sister Alice (Stockman) DeWesplore. Visitation will be at 10 a.m. and mass at 11 a.m., Wednesday, January 28, at the Annunciation Catholic Church in California, Mo. Donations can be made in Ida's name to Annunciation Catholic Church for masses in memory of the Mertens and Stockman families. Arrangements are under the direction of BOWLIN-CANTRIEL FUNERAL SERVICES, California, Mo.