Madison-John L. Merkt, age 62, passed away peacefully at his home on April 1, 2009 after a long battle with lupus and congestive heart failure. He was born on October 2, 1946 in Milwaukee the youngest of three children of Gervase and Anna (O'Shea) Merkt. He was a graduate of Milwaukee Marquette High School. John attended Marquette University from 1964 to 1968 and then continued his studies at UW-LaCrosse where he received his degree in secondary education. He served for over 6 years in the Army Reserve and taught for 4 years at St. Margaret Mary's School in Milwaukee. He was elected to the State Of Wisconsin Assembly in 1976 and served until 1988 as a State Representative serving the Washington and Ozaukee counties. During his terms in the assembly, he was an early champion of raising the drinking age in the early 1980's and was the main author of the "Len Bias Law" which helps prosecute for drug related deaths. John was noted for his many ingenious ideas. He left a legislative legacy even though most of his years as a state representative he was in the minority party. After he decided to not run for re-election, he was employed with Assemblyman David Prosser until 1996 when he was forced to retire due to lupus. He was instrumental in keeping the Brewers in Milwaukee by facilitating the support for the building of Miller Park. John was a member of Doric Lodge #356 F.and A.M., Madison Scottish Rite, Zor Shrine Temple and Zor Shrine Veterans Patrol. He was a past member of the Diamond Squares and currently a member of the Overseas Square Dance Association. John was united in marriage to Nancy Callaway on November 21, 1992 in the Wisconsin State Assembly Chambers with 400 family and friends present to celebrate their love and devotion. She will miss him dearly. Besides his wife, he is survived by his daughter, Katie Schmidt; three special young ladies who were his step-daughters, Susan (Michael) Crockett, Dr. Karen (Martin J.) Bordson and Christine Mathias; three loving grandchildren, Martin C. Bordson, Keith Mathias and Kathryn Crockett; his sister, Mary Ellen (Frank) Haldeman-Lorbiecki; brother-in-law, Harold (Pat) Crabb; his former wife, Kim (David) Schmidt; many nieces, nephews and cousins; and close friend and colleague, Supreme Court Justice David T. Prosser, Jr.. He was preceded in death by his parents, his sister, Nancy Lorbiecki, brother-in-law, Robert Haldeman and a granddaughter, Kelly Mathias. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on April 4, 2009 at 1:00 p.m at St. Dennis Catholic Church, 505 Dempsey Road, Madison, with Father Lance Schneider presiding. Burial will be held at St. Mary's Cemetery, Pine Bluff, WI. Visitation will be held at the funeral home on Friday, April 3, 2009 from 5-8:00 p.m. and on Saturday at the church from 12:00 p.m. until the time of service. John's family wishes to express HEART FELT THANKS to the Madison Hospice Team associated with HospiceCare for their compassionate care and support. Cress Funeral & Cremation Service 3325 E. Washington Ave Madison , WI www.cressfuneralservice.com
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