David Mentz passed away on Wednesday, February 17, 2021 at his life-long home in Greene Township, where he lived with his loving parents, Ron and Karin. They, along with his sister Kate (Neckers), were at his side as he peacefully departed.
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David was a lover and a fighter – both in the best ways possible. He loved everyone unconditionally – with an infections joy and a memorable laugh that brought a smile to even the most curmudgeonly among us. And he fought – by God did he fight – to live, beating medical odds left-and-right throughout the course of his 39 years. He also had an amazing team in his corner, with parents who advocated for him at every turn and who didn’t accept the conventional medical opinions of Dave’s early days – knowing in their hearts that Dave had a say in the matter and that he wasn’t about to bow to opponents as frivolous as odds or statistics (when as a chemist and a research librarian they deeply respected both).
David loved Star Wars (and any Sci-Fi, really), Christmas morning, ice skating, horseback riding, and comic books. He’d serenade you with the opening theme from Star Wars at any opportunity, and in his last evening on Earth, he watched Star Wars IV: A New Hope with his loved ones. It would be his final viewing, but for some of the younger family members, it was their first – passing along one of Dave’s passions to a new generation for safekeeping. He was a faithful member of Gliding Stars ice skating program and the Hope on Horseback riding program – both of which brought him joy and the company of many friends. He was also a frequent customer of Books Galore, making many trips with his librarian mother to browse the forest-like stacks and returning home with fresh quarry. In more recent months, COVID forced “virtual” expeditions into the “Amazon,” but they made due nonetheless.
Dave was also a culinary connoisseur of sorts, possessing a deep and abiding love of Heinz 57 (he put that Sh*t on everything) and Cherry Coke. He had an uncanny ability to both stealthily and forcefully steal one’s beverage – his motions smooth and swift, immune to detection or resistance – and to sneak a few sips before one realized that they had been hoodwinked once more by the master beverage thief. He’d laugh, and dare I say “wink,” when he was inevitably caught and admonished to return the pilfered pop to its rightful owner.
David is survived by his amazing parents, Ron and Karin (of Erie), along with his sister, Katharine “Kate” Neckers (brother-in-law, Jesse Neckers), and their twin sons, Dave’s nephews, Hank and Joe (of Charlottesville, VA). He’s also survived by Ron’s eldest brother, Chuck (Corpus Christi, TX), twin brother, Rich, and younger brother Ger (Betty) – all of Erie, along with a bevy of Mentz cousins – Gerry, Linda, Karen, Julie, Michelle, Kristine, and Cheryl. On Karin’s side, he is survived by her sister Suzanne – and cousins Mia, Zach, and Zoe – of Ashville, NC, along with Debbie Gattuso (widow of the late Guy Gattuso) and cousins Guy Joseph and Natalie of Bakersfield, CA, plus numerous other relatives across the US and world.
Dave was preceded in death by his maternal grandparents, Guy Gattuso and Irmela (Beck) Gattuso (Punxsutawney, PA and Asheville, NC) and paternal grandparents, Charles and Gertrude Mentz, of Erie. He was also preceded by his uncle, Guy Gattuso (Bakersfield, CA) and aunt, Lil Mentz (Corpus Christi, TX). It is a comfort to all to know that they are with him – perchance in a galaxy not-so-far away.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic funeral services and burial will be private for the family. Friends are invited to visit the Our Lady of Mount Carmel Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/Our-Lady-of-Mount-Carmel-Parish-Erie-PA-204891329530588 to livestream the visitation at 9 a.m. and the Funeral Mass at 10 a.m .on Wednesday morning.
Funeral arrangements were made by the Russell C. Schmidt & Son Funeral Home Inc., 5000 Wattsburg Rd., Erie, 16504.
In lieu of flowers memorial contributions can be made to Hope on Horseback Equestrian Center, 7280 Sterrettania Rd, Fairview, PA 16415 or Gliding Stars Inc., 501 E 38th St, Erie, PA 16504