William Harrison “Willy” Mergenthaler died tragically in Fort Collins on Saturday, October 3rd. He was only 20 years old.
William was born on June 13, 2000, alongside his twin sister, Caitlin, and grew up in Fairfield, CT. He attended Fairfield Schools, most recently Roger Ludlowe High School and the Bridgeport Aquaculture Science & Technology program. During high school, Willy also worked at the Fairfield Veterinary Hospital, where he enjoyed working alongside Dr. Plunkett, helping animals.
Willy was a rising junior at Colorado State University, although taking a deferred “gap” year to explore his passion for food and cooking. Willy was a valued employee of the Peace, Love & Little Donuts shop, and he leaves behind many special friends in Fort Collins, where he found true happiness in the mountains and the laid-back lifestyle that Colorado offered.
Willy loved nature, animals, skateboarding, skiing, sailing, fast cars and, most of all, his friends and family. He had a witty and sharp sense of humor. He loved the outdoors and was as daring and adventurous as he could be. Willy always looked for the good in anything and everyone, and he went out of his way to meet new people and make sure that they felt loved and included. He was quiet and sensitive, yet outgoing and social, and didn’t understand how people could ever be mean. He was fiercely loyal to his friends and family.
Willy dealt with many medical issues since infancy, inflicted with a rare genetic disorder, Familial Mediterranean Fever Syndrome, which caused chronic swelling of his joints and organs. Despite being in and out of the hospital countless times, and enduring seemingly-endless procedures and treatments, not once did he ever complain or ask “why me?”
For years, Willy also stoically endured the agony of OCD, anxiety and depression, until he finally surrendered. We hope and trust that he has finally found the relief and serenity that his soul craved.
William leaves behind his father, Eric Mergenthaler of Southport; his mother, Julie Lucas, and her husband John Lieberman of Bridgeport; his grandmother, Janet Mergenthaler of Westport and Southport; Grandfather Mark Lucas of Marina del Rey, California; sisters Lauren and Caitlin Mergenthaler of Fairfield, and brothers Cole Prowitt-Smith and Wyatt Lieberman. In addition, he leaves countless adoring aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
A private memorial for family will be held on Thursday, Oct. 15. Another celebration of his life, for all of his friends and family, is being planned for a later date. Details will follow.
“Most people don’t know that there are angels whose only job is to make sure you don’t get too comfortable and fall asleep and miss your life.”
In lieu of flowers, please consider making a donation in honor of Willy to The Chill Foundation (https://www.chill.org/support-chill).