Obituary of John Alan Mersereau
“One of the Good Ones”
That’s how one of my friends described my father after being told the news. Our Father, John Alan “Jack” Mersereau, left us peacefully the morning of Thursday 9/7/2023, after a five-year battle with Parkinson’s disease.
Jack now resides in the big firehouse in the sky, where he can drive and tend to his fire trucks all day long without ever having to go to a fire. In addition to joining his firefighter friends who preceded him in death, like his special buddy Ron Pearson, and our firefighting Mersereau ancestors, we like to think he is reunited with his favorite grand-dog-daughter, Emma, who passed just weeks before, taking the position of the traditional firehouse dalmatian, on the front seat of the truck.
Jack devoted his entire adult life to the fire service in one way or another, wherever he lived - as a volunteer firefighter, his longest tenure being with the Coon Rapids (MN) Fire Department, where he would also enjoy playing Waterball or calling numbers for Bingo at the Coon Rapids fourth of July carnival; as a Fire Buff and active member of the Extra Alarm Association, attending fire musters, conventions, and parades, visiting fire stations on his own or as part of a junket, resulting in a very impressive slide collection of all models and eras of fire apparatus; collecting fire department patches from all over the world, curating a collection of hand-built models of apparatus, (sometimes “frankensteining” them when a specific model didn’t exist), and a collection of other fire related items like an old fashioned punch-tape fire box we would occasionally run in the basement of the family home in Coon Rapids; he was a volunteer at the Minneapolis Fire Museum (now the MN Fire Museum), and restored antique fire engine “Old Betsy” in Venice, FL; he wrote two books about fire apparatus and fire department history, one for the 50th Anniversary of the Coon Rapids (MN) Fire Department, and another for the Venice (FL) fire department.
Jack’s life began on 11/12/1937, in Elizabeth, NJ, with much of Jack’s youth spent in the New Jersey area. Jack lived for a time as a teen in Guam where his father was assigned in the Navy, and later in northern France where he, himself, was stationed in the US Army. After graduating college, Jack married Carole (Dietz) in July 1965 and quickly began a family before boldly moving them to the Midwest for work only a few years later, leaving everyone and everything he knew “back East”. Jack worked as an accountant and auditor for companies like SantaFe railroad (Wichita, KS, and Chicago, IL), and FMC (Fridley, MN). When the kids were in High School, Jack returned to school to earn his MBA from St. Thomas College (St. Paul, MN). Later, Jack dipped his toes into the world of Real Estate, but mostly enjoyed driving school bus for a handful of years, even winning “Bus Driver of the Year” in 2001, before retirement. Throughout all of this, Jack with his wife were big supporters of the endeavors of their children, attending many contests, competitions, and performances without complaint.
Jack achieved his dream of retiring to Venice, FL, in 2003 and enjoyed 17 years there. In retirement, in addition to his fire-related pursuits, Jack also enjoyed a mediocre game of golf, bocce ball with neighbors, photographing clouds like his father did, visiting the community pool across the street, tending to his lovely corner lot property, researching family genealogy, reading newspapers online from the places he had lived, planning imaginary trips using his oversized road atlas, volunteering as Treasurer at church and as an aid in preparing taxes for the community, and visiting the beach and the village of Venice with his wife. Together, they took a cruise to Nassau, Bahamas, returning to where they had honeymooned in 1965, and also fulfilled Carole’s dream of a Viking River cruise in Europe, travelled to Australia to visit a fireman friend and stopped in Hawaii for a bit, among other domestic travels to see new locations, or visit with family and friends. We’re so thankful he got to do all of this before he was no longer able. In declining health, Jack and Carole moved back to Minnesota in 2020 so they could be closer to the kids and grandkids who could assist with Jack’s care.
Jack is preceded in death by his mother Helen Marie (Jennings) Mersereau, father Alan Lambert Mersereau, uncle Everard “Ed” Clarkson Mersereau, and many pets. He is survived by his wife of 58 years, Carole Anne (Dietz) Mersereau, son Bradley John Mersereau (Jennifer), daughter Michelle Anne Mersereau (Rick Meihofer), grandsons Justin (Savona Tafoya), Asher (Mikayla), Jayden, and Xedric Mersereau, granddaughter Cecilia Mersereau (Hannah Johnson), brother Rick Mersereau, niece Kelly Lovell (Jude) - children Corinne, Jane, Patrick John, and Cavan, nephew Scott Mersereau (Cathy) - children Brooke and Gwen, and sister-in-law Kathie Hughes Mersereau.
Many heartfelt thanks to the staff at Silver Creek on Main - Maple Grove, MN, Comfort Keepers, North Memorial Hospital Maple Grove, and North Memorial Hospice for their compassionate care over the last three years.
Services for Jack will be held on Friday, September 29, 2023, at Cremation Society of Minnesota, 7110 France Ave. S, Edina. Visitation begins at 1PM, service at 2PM, with reception to follow.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you make a donation in Jack’s name to Parkinson’s research at the Mayo Clinic (https://philanthropy.mayoclinic.org/page.aspx?pid=1510), the Minnesota Fire Museum (www.minnesotafiremusem.org), or to the fund for ‘Old Betsy’ (https://www.heraldtribune.com/story/news/local/venice/2021/01/10/venice-fundraising-old-betsy-garage-and-museum-hits-halfway-mark/6562423002/)”