Cover photo for Donald "Don" Mertz's Obituary
Donald "Don" Mertz Profile Photo

Donald "Don" Mertz

October 16, 1936 — February 4, 2022

Donald "Don" Mertz

Donald (Don) Herbert Mertz, 85, formerly of Walnut, IA, died on Friday, February 4, 2022, at Mercy Hospice House in Durango.

Don was born on October 16, 1936, in Council Bluffs, IA, to Herbert and Marie (Koll) Mertz of Walnut, IA.  He graduated from Walnut High School in 1954, and attended the University of Iowa earning his accounting degree and remained a Hawkeye Fan throughout his life. Don was a member of Mensa.  He joined the U.S. Army in 1959, and was stationed in Germany until his honorable discharge in 1961.

Don worked for the family bank for many years before moving to Estes Park, CO, where he worked for Wedgewood Realty as an accountant.  He transferred to the Durango Wedgewood office, where he met Virginia Rochford, the office sales manager.  She sold him the Western Outfitters business on Main Avenue, and she later became co-owner with Don after they were married on May 22, 1976, at the First Presbyterian Church in Durango.

Don not only married Virginia, a widow, he married her four children and was a loving and supportive stepfather. 

After running Western Outfitters for several years, they moved to Quartzsite, AZ, where they owned and operated a RV park. They retired to Yuma, AZ, and spent time taking cruises to Alaska and other destinations, as well as spending time at the family cabin in Canada.

Virginia and Don returned to Colorado in 2012, and purchased a home in Bayfield.  They enjoyed their time with family and friends until Virginia preceded him in death in 2015.  He loved celebrations with his children and grandchildren, and was affectionately called Papa Don by family and close friends.

Don had resided at Sunshine Gardens Assisted Living since 2020 just as the pandemic hit, but he made the best of a challenging situation with the help of family.   They often accompanied him to family gatherings, shared milkshakes and walks in the park, and enjoyed as vibrant of a life as possible, despite the pandemic.

Don was preceded in death by his parents; his wife, Virginia; his daughter, Becky Sanchez; and son-in-law, Roland Huber. He is survived by his sister, Jean Schmitt (Joe); children, Sheri Rochford Figgs (Dan), Sonny Rochford (Debbie), and Chandra Huber, along with son-in-law, Jimmy Sanchez; his grandchildren, Whitney Hanscom (Dustin), Austin Rochford, Micah Sanchez, Jimi Lynn Sanchez, Georgia Huber, Bridget Huber, Melissa Johnson (Aaron), Dustin Figgs (Holly), and Amanda Figgs Ganter (Mike); numerous great-grandchildren; nieces and nephews; and two aunts. 

A Celebration of Life Memorial Service will be held at 11:00 a.m., Saturday, September 17, 2022, at Roland Funeral Home in Atlantic, with a light lunch following.  After lunch, all are invited to the Layton Township Cemetery in Walnut for graveside services.   

The family expresses gratitude and thanks to the staff at Mercy Medical Center, Mercy Hospice House, Sunshine Gardens, Hood Mortuary, and Roland Funeral Service.

Roland Funeral Service is caring for Don’s family and his local arrangements.  Condolences may be left at

To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Donald "Don" Mertz, please visit our flower store.

Past Services

Celebration of Life

Saturday, September 17, 2022

Starts at 11:00 am

Roland Funeral Service

204 E 5th St, Atlantic, IA 50022

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Layton Township Cemetery

51000 Westgate Rd, Walnut, IA 51577

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