Last revised: May 22, 2013  


Thomas Merfeld Photo Album

Thomas Merfeld


Rod Poellinger, Gerry Kremer, Dennis Bruggeman, Thomas Merfeld

(April 1951)

Thomas Merfeld and Donna Marie (nee Troyanek) - Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico

Biography by Tom's Son - (2010)

Tom Merfeld joined the Air Force in 1950.  He was trained to be an Air Policeman after basic training.  His first assignment was to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico, where he married Donna Marie (nee Troyanek) on 12 Apr 51.  His next assignment was on Guam.  From there, he was reassigned to the 793rd AC&W Squadron at Hutchinson, Kansas (Sep 57 until Dec 58). 

Because Tom had studied six languages while preparing for the priesthood, he applied for Russian language training in late 1958.  He was accepted into the program and left Hutchinson, Kansas; he took a short leave to spend Christmas at home; then, he left La Crosse, Wisconsin to arrive at Skytop in Syracuse in time to begin studies as a member of Class SR 9-1-59 Basic.  And, the rest is history, as they say.

In May 1962, Tom Mathews’ mom (Thomas P. Merfeld’s widow) Donna Marie Merfeld married Alfred  H. Mathews in La Crosse, Wisc.  Al Mathews adopted Donna and Tom Merfeld’s three children; and, consequently, the three children changed their last names to Mathews.  Thus, Thomas P. Merfeld, Jr., became Thomas P. Mathews.

Tom and Donna Merfeld had two children at the time of the fire:  their first, Lynn Marie, was born 15 Apr 53; Thomas Jr. was born 17 Mar 55; the photo was taken at Christmastime, 1959—shortly before Tom left for Syracuse). 

Donna was pregnant at the time of the fire; she delivered their third child, a son, Kurt Allen, on 5 May 1959 – one day short of four months after the death of the father.

There has been much sadness in the family since the fire took the husband/father/brother. 

Tom Merfeld’s father Henry died at the age of 58 (d. Jun 63).

Tom Merfeld’s mom Bernice was the exception; she lived to be 74 (d. Mar 84).

Tom Merfeld’s wife (Tom Mathews’ mom) died at the age of 57 (d. 15 Aug 88).

Tom Merfeld’s oldest daughter, Lynn, died of ovarian cancer at the age of 55 (d. 9 May 2004).

Tom Merfeld’s youngest son, Kurt, fell victim to suicide at the age of 17 (d. 19 Feb 77).


Last revised: May 22, 2013

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