Merton (Mert) Williams, age 88, of Rochester, MN passed away on Monday, May 8, 2023 at his home.
Mert was born on March 11, 1935 to Ralph M. (Bob) Williams and Annie Williams (Larsen). Mert was married to Mardel Carey for over 15 years and were later divorced. They had three daughters during their marriage.
Mert was a well-known auto body repairman at B&B Auto Body of Rochester. He was also employed at Quarve & Anderson in Rochester. Mert went to work for the Rochester Parks Department where he retired.
Racing cars was his passion. He was and still is a legend to many. Mert won races and track championships all over the Midwest. He is the all-time leader in feature wins at the Olmsted County Fairgrounds in Rochester and at the Dodge County Speedway in Kasson. He won 10-track championships at Kasson that included six in a row in the early to mid-1970's.
The biggest highlights in his career was the win at the Minnesota State Fair I.M.C.A. North Star 350 in 1962. Mert is still the only stock car driver to be inducted into the Rochester Quarterback's Club Hall of Fame in 2008.
During his illustrious career, Mert was known for his engineering & fabricating prowess and was always on the cutting edge on how to make the car handle better and go faster.
Mert is survived by his daughters Linda (Frank) Heglin, Vicki Williams and Kim Williams. A very special thank you to Kim who moved in and took good care of her dad for the past 14-months.
He is also survived by his grandchild Shane (Amy) Baker and his great grandchildren McKenna, Lucas, and Kamryn; Grandchild Nathan (Rachel) Noser along with great grandchild Isaiah; Grandchild Mike (Michelle) Williams and great grandchildren Cooper, Mysti and Mikey.
Mert was preceded in death by his parents Ralph and Annie along with his only sibling Phyllis Cocker.
A visitation will be held on Sunday, May 14 from 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. A Memorial Service will take place following the visitation at 4:00 p.m. This will be held at Ranfranz & Vine Funeral Home located at 5421 Royal Place NW in Rochester. A private burial will be on Monday, May 15.
Memorials are preferred to Doctors Without Borders at www.doctorswithoutborders.org and Operation Smile at www.operationsmile.org Mert was very interested in both of these organizations.
Ranfranz and Vine Funeral Homes is honored to be serving the Williams family; to share a special memory or condolence, please visit www.ranfranzandvinefh.com.
Rochester, MN 55901
Rochester, MN 55901
I remember Mert racing at Olmsted and Kasson. My parents brought me and my brother to the races. Mert was a legend. The announcer would say, It is hurry hurry hurry and go go go it is Mert Williams for the win. Of course you could barely hear the announcer with those big blocks singing. Great service!
A wonderful, talented, legendary, kind man who was loved and a part of our family for so many years. Condolences to the Williams family. Rest in peace Mert. You will be missed.
I read this week that Mert had passed away. I remember him coming to the Eau Claire Speedway when I was a kid. He was a great driver, always had cool looking cars, and always was a force to be reckoned with. he was definitely part of a great racing era. God Bless You! Steve Tannler, Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin.
Vicki and Family - you are in my thoughts and prayers. As a child living 1 block from Olmsted County fairgrounds, I spent my Sunday evenings watching races, sometimes from an apartments fire escape, sometimes from a peek hole in the fence and eventually sitting in the grandstands. We loved and cheered for your dad on that track and as time went on, from many more local tracks. His competitiveness put us on the edge of the bleachers - to watch him move through the pack, until he reached the front. I love the picture you posted of him - his smile never changed. As you know, now "the wagon" sits in our garage from time to time - it makes me laugh when I remember the first time he brought it to the track to race! Who would build a station wagon to race - Mert the engineer! May his memory bless you and your family for years to come. Pat S
I used to be Mert's neighbor many years ago. He was a great person and neighbor. I also remember him loving trains. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Williams family. Be at peace Mert.