March 9, 1937 - Dec. 4, 2016
DARIEN CENTER - Richard J. Merta, a retired air traffic controller and Vietnam veteran, died Dec. 4 in Thunderbird Hospice and Palliative Care Center in Glendale, Ariz. He was 79.
A Buffalo native, Mr. Merta lived in Darien Center most of his life. He graduated from Father Baker High School and earned an associate's degree in business administration from Adirondack Community College, Queensbury.
Mr. Merta joined the Air Force when he was 17 and retired after a 22-year career that included working as an air traffic controller and serving in the Vietnam War. He rose to the rank of master sergeant.
He also worked 29 years as an air traffic control specialist with the Federal Aviation Administration.
He was a member of the Knights of Columbus, American Legion and Disabled American Veterans. He also was active in the Special Olympics and enjoyed golfing.
Survivors include his wife of eight years, the former Diane Taylor; two sons, Steven and Christopher; three daughters, Catherine Lontz, Margaret Mudd and Elizabeth Husele; three brothers, John, Michael and Jerome; 10 grandchildren; and four great-grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Monday in Our Lady of Good Counsel Catholic Church, 10677 Allegany Road.