Oswald F. ‘Ozzie’ Merz
November 17, 1932 ‒ May 17, 2017
The final chapter of the incredible life and journey of Oswald F. “Ozzie” Merz was written on Wednesday, May 17, 2017, at his home in the Kingston Residence of Marion with his loving wife and daughter by his side. Words will never do justice to explain Ozzie’s unique and fulfilling life story.
On November 17, 1932, Oswald was born in Nürnberg, Germany, the youngest of three children of Carl and Anna (Mueller) Merz. He attended preparatory school there at Melanchton Gymnasium, during the challenging times of World War II and beyond, finishing school in 1949.
Upon completion of school, Ozzie worked for his father’s export business until he became a gas station attendant for the US Army in Nürnberg in 1951. During his two years there, he developed his love of American jazz music and perfected his English language skills. Then, on August 28, 1953, Ozzie took a fateful trip to Ohio, via Paris and New York, to visit his middle sister, Gerti, who married a US soldier, Bob Hottinger, and was living with him in his hometown of Bucyrus, Ohio. While in Bucyrus, Ozzie was introduced by a mutual friend, Jim Ziegler, to a waitress working at a local diner, Geraldine “Gerry” Brown. Ozzie made arrangements to extend his stay in Bucyrus, working for A & P Supermarket and continuing his relationship with Gerry. Eventually they married on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 1957, at her parents’ home, and have been by each other’s side ever since throughout their fifty-nine years of marriage.
Ozzie started at the Whirlpool Corporation Marion Division on November 11, 1955, as a factory worker. After two years, he was promoted to an administrative position. His positions included Foreman, Industrial Engineer, Supervisor of Industrial Engineering, and Supervisor of Scheduling. He retired from Whirlpool in June of 1988, after more than 30 years of service.
Learning to be an entrepreneur from his father, Ozzie was always interested in new ventures. From 1969-1971, he owned and operated a bar and carryout in Marion with a partner called “The Lodge”. In 1981, he then bought the Hertz Rental Car franchises in Lima, Tiffin, Marion and Findlay. He ran this business with his wife until November of 1992. During this time, he and Gerry enjoyed traveling to Hertz conventions all over the US including San Francisco, Baltimore and Boston.
Another significant moment in Ozzie’s life came on March 10, 1960, when he officially became a citizen of the United States. He also formerly attended the Emanuel Lutheran Church. Completing their family, daughter Heidi arrived in 1963.
Having a zest for life, Ozzie found enjoyment in many pastimes. He had a lifelong love for jazz and rock music. He enjoyed tending to his extensive vegetable and flower gardens every year, working with his music turned up, then upon completion he would finish the job with a beer or two. Ozzie had a close group of friends with whom he would play cards and shoot pool. He took many fishing excursions with his brother-in-law, Bob. He also was an avid reader, focusing much on his interest of history and learning about different cultures. His extensive research often led to intense political discussions.
One of his greatest interests in retirement, Ozzie and Gerry travelled around visiting churches and villages in Germany that might help him complete his genealogical search. He was able to trace his family back to the 17th century. In addition to traveling throughout Germany, they traveled much of Europe, often visiting Switzerland to see their daughter, Heidi.
Snowbirds, Ozzie and Gerry wintered in Mount Dora, Florida, with family and friends for over ten years.
Ozzie will be remembered as a fun-loving man with a great sense of humor, who truly made the most of his life.
Ozzie will be dearly missed by his beloved wife, Gerry Merz of Marion; a daughter, Heidi (Urs) Kunz-Merz of Uitikon, Switzerland; three grandchildren: Alexander, Nicolas, and Anna Kunz; a sister, Gertrude Hottinger of Eustis, Florida; and numerous nieces and nephews.
Including his parents, Ozzie was preceded in death by his oldest sister, Felizitas Traber; two brothers-in-law: Otto Traber and Bob Hottinger; and two cats he adored: PeeWee and Monster.
Services honoring Ozzie’s life will be observed at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 10, 2017, in Marion Cemetery (Harding Memorial side), with Celebrant Mark Schuring officiating. A time of food and fellowship in his memory will follow at Emanuel Lutheran Church.
Memorial contributions may be made to the Marion Area Humane Society, 2264 Richland Rd., Marion, OH 43302.
Snyder Funeral Homes of Marion are honored to have been chosen to serve Ozzie’s family and your favorite memories and condolences may be shared with them via www.SnyderFuneralHomes.com.