Po-Hi Hall of Fame Banquet Scheduled for Sept. 30

Mike Seals - August 4, 2021 11:26 am


The Po-Hi Hall of Fame banquet will be held Thursday, Sept. 30 in the lower level of City Central. The event will begin at 7 p.m.

Tickets are $50 per person or $500 for a table of eight. Tickets can be purchased at the Administration Building, 613 East Grand Avenue.

The second honoree being inducted this year into the Hall of Fame is Forrest Handley Mertz. He was born Feb. 1, 1925, in Ponca City, the fourth child of H.A. “Jack” Mertz and Hattie Handley Mertz. Hattie and Jack’s first child, Helen Louise, died in infancy, and Forrest grew up as the middle child of five: older brother Charles Roy, older sister Elaine and younger brother and sister Don and Martha. Forrest attended Garfield School and graduated from Ponca City High School in 1942. After attending OU for one year, he enlisted in the U.S. Army, serving with the 12th Armored Division in Germany from 1943 to 1945.

After his discharge from the service, he attended Oklahoma State University (at that time it was Oklahoma A&M), graduating in 1950 with a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering. In 1948, Forrest and his brother Don purchased a small machine shop from their grandfather Roy Mertz. When the Mertz brothers took over the business, there were three employees working in a 4,500-square-foot building on south Second Street. In time, the business grew to employ over 450 employees as a leader in the field of oil exploration, and Mertz Inc. became one of the leading businesses of Ponca City.

In 1960 Forrest married Suzanne (Sue) Sutton and they had four children, Molly Mertz Ballinger, Beth Mertz Carmichael, Mindy Mertz Jones and Forrest Andrew (Andy) Mertz, all of whom graduated from Po-Hi. Over several years the family grew to include 13 grandchildren.

Forrest was active in many community activities. He served as chairman of the Salvation Army Advisory Board for several years and as president of the Ponca City Country Club Board of Directors. He played a key role in the founding of the Ponca City Christian Academy and served on their school board. He was also on the board of Oklahoma’s Fellowship of Christian Athletes with Ponca City’s Chuck Bowman (former recipient of the Po-Hi Alumni HOF award). Forrest was instrumental in the reconstruction of the Ponca City Memorial Fountain.

He was a man of many talents and interests, one who loved God and served in his church, a loving husband, father and grandfather. He could build anything and fix anything and was maybe the happiest puttering in his cluttered garage, which had no room for the car, but where he knew the location of every nut, bolt and screwdriver. Forrest died on May 17, 2010, at the age of 85.


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