By David Fleet
A soldier, loving husband and father—Mathew Mersino will be remembered for a life committed to his country and family.
Mathew C. Mersino of Oxford died May 20, 2017.
He was 94.
A Detroit native and 1941 Oxford High School graduate, Mersino departed Fort Shanks, N.J. in October 1943 aboard the converted luxury liner-troopship Monarch of Bermuda for Liverpool, England, as part of the Army 405 AAA Artillery.
Mersino was in England and joined thousands of Allied forces when they crossed the English Channel during the June 6, 1944 D-Day invasion on the beaches of Normandy, France.
Mersino’s gunnery group focused on the V-1 bombs or “vengeance weapon,” or “Vergeltungswaffe,” as it came to be known destined for England as they flew over France.
“The Germans would send those over by just aiming them west at targets. We hit 260 V-1 bombs before they could do damage,” said Mersino, in a 2009 interview with The Citizen newspaper. “We were very good shots with our 90 mm gun–I don’t think we ever missed.
Mersino later served as a guard at a German POW camp and as a prisoner carved a V-1 bomber out of wood.
Mersino came home from the war in December 1945 and went to work for his father at the City Service gas station in Oxford. He met Faye Sutton and in the fall of 1948 took her to a Detroit Tigers game at what was then known as Briggs Stadium on the first date. Many dates followed, including several at the Blue Sky Drive-In in Waterford, as well as the Villa Drive-In in Lake Orion. They also liked to get milkshakes and go dancing.
Faye’s appeal led him to propose to her in his 1942 Lincoln Continental on May 1, 1949, Faye’s 18th birthday. Two-and-a-half months later, on July 16, 1949, they married at St. Joseph Catholic Church in Lake Orion, with a small reception at Faye’s parents’ home.
The couple were married for 68 years.
“Grandpa was a stalwart man with steadfast and sound body, mind, and spirit,” said Christopher Mersino, grandson. “A true legend from the greatest generation ever.”
Matt was the father of Brad (Patti) Mersino, Rod (Karen) Mersino, Lana (Joe) Quisenberry, Randy Mersino, Valerie (Rich) Terryah, Doug Mersino, Veronica (Marty Wells) Mersino; also survived by 27 grandchildren and 45 great-grandchildren; brother of Richard (Kathy) Mersino, Phyllis Pagel, Stanley (Ruth Ann) Mersino, Dennis (Laura) Mersino; preceded in death by parents Mathew & Gladys and siblings: Bernice Jozwik, Patricia Mersino, Harold Mersino, Donald Mersino, Howard Mersino and Joan Pincumbe.
“Dad loved being outdoors,” recalls daughter Lana Quisenberry. “He took fishing trips in Canada for more than 50 years. He went deer hunting in northern Michigan and was a big Tigers fan. Dad was always kind and cared for everyone. He loved his family and put them first.”
Mathew retired from I.T.T. Higbie and was a member of Knights of Columbus # 4764, North Oakland Elks, American Legion, 40/8 Voiture # 1536 and VFW Ortonville Post # 582.
In recognition of his service in September 2013, the honorary veteran organization 40 et 8 Voiture 1536 of Lapeer, along with the Michigan Wood Carvers Association, honored Mersino with a personalized cane featuring his photo, stripes, medals from where he served and decals representing POWs, MIAs and KIAs of his four years of service in WWII.
“As long as Dad was able he walked in the Ortonville Memorial Parade,” recalled Lana. “Just the last few years he rode.”
Interment with military honors was set for 10:30 a.m. May 27 at Great Lakes National Cemetery, Holly. Memorials may be made to St .Anne Catholic Church Care & Share. Online guestbook www.wintfuneralhome.com.