While surrounded by family, Boyd Altmann Mertz died on Friday, Oct. 29, 2021, of heart-related complications.
He was born March 16, 1927, as an identical twin to Herbert Altmann Mertz. Together, Boyd and Herb lived most of their young lives in tandem. They grew up on the family farm in Northumberland. After graduating from Northumberland High School in 1945, they enlisted in the Army Air Corps and were honorably discharged as corporals in 1947. They both attended Bucknell University to study chemical engineering. For nine years, Boyd traveled and worked as an engineer, and later returned home to take over Mertz Greenhouses.
In July of 1960, Boyd went on a blind date with a girl in town who “had an answer for everything.” After a brief courtship, Boyd married Joan Marie Kunkel of Sunbury, on Jan. 15, 1961.
Boyd had a long and successful career as a farmer. He employed countless local young people at the greenhouses, serving as an invaluable mentor and role model to many. In his tenure as the owner of Mertz Greenhouses, Boyd expanded the business, experimented with new growing methods, and worked closely with industry experts to stay up to date on technological developments. His hard work paid off: he earned multiple awards as a farmer, including the prestigious “Master Farmer” title in 1985.
Boyd’s involvement in the community was nothing short of profound. For many years, he served on the Northern Central Bank’s Central Susquehanna Associate Board, the Northumberland School Board, and the leadership board of the SUN Area Technical Institute. He was a former president of the Lion’s Club, an active member of American Legion Post No. 44, and he held an officer title with the Pennsylvania Vegetable Growers Association for over 30 years. He was a member of the Zion Lutheran Church.
Boyd was an avid bowler and reader, but his second home was the Bucknell Golf Club, where he had an impressive 65-year membership and an even more impressive golf game. He was a legend. Around the club he was known as a “tough old bird” who could be found on the course 250 days a year, rain, snow, or shine.
Those who knew him will always remember his honesty, his unmatchable work ethic, and his dry sense of humor. Those who knew him more intimately will also remember his stubborn, argumentative, and completely lovable nature.
He was preceded in death by his older sister, June; and his twin brother, Herb.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Joan Mertz; his daughter, son, and daughter-in law, Lisa Mertz of Northumberland, and Boyd Mertz and Melanie of New Hope; four grandchildren, Daniella Snyder, Cameron Boyd Mertz, Braden Mertz, and Janessa Mitterling; four great-grandchildren; one sister, Hildegard Mertz Spencer of State College; numerous nieces and nephews; and one dog, Jackson.
A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 6, at Zion Lutheran Church, Sunbury, with visitation beginning at 10 a.m. Masks will be required.
A private interment ceremony will be held at a later time.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Zion Lutheran Church.
Arrangements are by the Joseph W. Epler Funeral Home, 210 King St., Northumberland.
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