Obituary: Dr. John H. Mertens

Longtime Claremont dentist, loving husband, father

Dr. John Mertens, a longtime Claremont resident, died peacefully on Monday, October 17, surrounded by family. He was 81.

John was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 29, 1941, the oldest of two children, to Armand and Marion Mertens. He spent his very happy childhood exploring the neighborhoods of Detroit, often with his best friend of 70 years, Doug Francis. His family moved to California in 1959, and he graduated from Chaffey High School that same year.

He met and married Mary Ann Hutchison after a brief engagement at Claremont United Church of Christ on July 6, 1963. The couple moved to Detroit that same summer, where he completed dental school.

In 1969 the couple settled in Claremont, where he set up a thriving dental practice. Before retiring in 2015, he was a valuable member of the community. He often volunteered his time tending to the dental needs of many, including providing free dental care to skilled nursing patients at Pilgrim Place and dental screenings to all second and fifth grade students in Claremont.

He enjoyed playing golf and as a longtime member of Red Hill Country Club, he and his wife assisted in the organization of various charitable golf tournaments over the years. He also won several tournaments himself. He lived his life to the fullest and enjoyed many friendships across all areas of his life. He was also a huge classic Hollywood film buff and amassed a very large collection of autographs and movie memorabilia. Family was his first priority, and every aspect of his life was devoted to his family and helping others.

“Ultimately, enjoying life was John’s passion,” his family shared. “While his dental career helped fulfill a need to serve his community, he worked to live. Always happy, and always inviting friends to join the fun, John enjoyed his time on the golf course and his favorite restaurants, often with friends and family along for the ride.”

He is survived by his daughters and sons-in-law, Laura and Chris Mandzok and Melissa and Sean Bird; and by grandchildren, Emma Bird, Anne Bird, Cyril Mandzok, Lillian Mandzok, and Xavi Mandzok.

Memorial services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, November 18 at Claremont United Church of Christ, 233 Harrison Ave.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to any organization that serves veterans.


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