L to R: Hassie Cora PROFFITT, Merlene Golda MERTENA, Merlen Paris "Zack" MERTENA. Taken 2 Feb 1955 on the wedding day of Merlene and Benford Maurice TRAHAN in Vinton, Calcasieu, Louisiana. The house in the background belonged to Benford's parents, Bienvenue TRAHAN and Beatrice Marie BONEAUX. Benford and Merlene later lived in the house.
This Valentine's Day is dedicated to my great-grandparents, Merlen Paris "Zack" MERTENA and Hassie Cora PROFFITT, who married on 14 Feb 1931 in Mulhall, Logan, Oklahoma. They are the parents of my paternal grandmother, Merlene Golda MERTENA.
"Friends Honor Mertenas," clipping from unidentified newspaper, c. Feb 1931; supplied by Merlene (Mertena) Trahan, Vinton, Louisiana. Merlene is the daughter of Merlen and Hassie.
Before they married, Hassie was a schoolteacher. Zack and Hassie had 4 children from 1931 to 1946:
1) William John "Bill" MERTENA was born on 20 Aug 1931 in Frederick, Tillman, Oklahoma. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a degree in journalism. He served with the U.S. Army in Korea and retired from the Army Reserves as a lieutenant colonel. He worked as a journalist for the American Press in Lake Charles, Calcasieu, Louisiana and in Olympia, Thurston, Washington. He married Eva Jo WARD on 6 Apr 1958 in at First Methodist Church in Lake Charles. They had five children. They later divorced in 1986. He then married Betty ESTES. Bill died on 8 Oct 2001 in Olympia and was cremated.
2) Merlene Golda MERTENA was born on 28 Jul 1935 in Mulhall, Logan, Oklahoma. She graduated from Sulphur High School in Sulphur, Calcasieu, Louisiana, in 1953 and attended McNeese State University in Lake Charles. She married Benford Maurice TRAHAN on 2 Feb 1955 at St. Joseph's Catholic Church, in Vinton, Calcasieu, Louisiana. She is retired from being a travel counselor with the Louisiana Department of Culture, Recreation, and Tourism. Benford and Merlene have four children and seven grandchildren.
3) Joseph Henry "Tony" MERTENA was born on 15 November 1941 in Guthrie, Logan, Oklahoma. He married Gloria Maxine CARLIN of Sulphur. They had one child. He worked at the Citgo oil refinery in Sulphur for over 20 years. Tony died 30 Jan 1998 in Lake Charles. He is buried at Niblett's Bluff Cemetery in Vinton.
4) Jill Darlene MERTENA was born 29 Sep 1946 in Ponca City, Kay, Oklahoma. She married Robert James "Bobby" ELLENDER on 2 Apr 1971 in Orange, Orange, Texas. She is retired from being a hairdresser.
Hassie and Zack moved from Mulhall, Oklahoma, to Ponca City, Oklahoma, around 1942. They then moved to Sulphur, Louisiana, around 1952, due to Zack's job transfer with Conoco, from where he retired as an operator. He was known as a great storyteller. He died on 7 May 1989 in Sulphur. Hassie died on 7 May 1986 in Lake Charles. They are both buried at Mimosa Pines Cemetery in Sulphur.