Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018
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BGSU mathematics professor fascinated by programming

BOWLING GREEN - David B. Meronk, 74, a professor emeritus of mathematics who taught algebra to Bowling Green State University students for nearly 30 years, died Thursday in Hospice of Northwest Ohio, Perrysburg Township, from complications of colon cancer.

Mr. Meronk retired in 1995 from the mathematics faculty, to which he was hired in 1967.

Initially a physics major while a student at Marquette University, "he found a love for numbers and became an algebraist," his daughter Stephanie Cavanaugh said.

"He liked the sense of it, the orderliness of it. He was a brilliant mind in mathematics," she said.

After Mr. Meronk received a bachelor's degree from Marquette, he went to the University of Notre Dame, from which he received a doctorate.

While looking for positions at universities, he passed through Bowling Green.

"He liked the setting. He decided to take the job and not go any further," his wife, Barbara, said.

His example inspired his daughter Stephanie, who teaches at-risk youths, to become an educator.

"He was so conscientious with his students," his daughter said. "My dad was an at-risk youth and stayed the course and was resilient and ended up in a career he loved."

Mr. Meronk had a thirst for knowledge, but he was unfulfilled by his high school in Milwaukee, his daughter said. He left before graduation, and only later received a high school equivalency diploma.

Mr. Meronk was in the Air Force and was a radio technician in Alaska during the Korean War.

Mr. Meronk was at the vanguard of the home computer age. In the 1980s, his children were among the first at school who had written their papers on a computer.

Programming caught his interest. Step by step, he'd solve a problem, much as he did in algebra. He spent two years writing a program for the swim meets of the Bowling Green Swim Club, for which Stephanie swam. The programs later were adopted by high school district and Mid-American Conference meets.

Mr. Meronk was a member and lector at St. Aloysius Church, Bowling Green, and was a member of the Knights of Columbus and a former chairman of its Measure Up campaign.

Surviving are his wife, Barbara, whom he married June 7, 1958; daughters, Salena Meronk and Stephanie Cavanaugh; son, David J. Meronk; brother, John Meronk, and 12 grandchildren.

The body will be in the Dunn Funeral Home, Bowling Green, after 2 p.m. today, with a recitation of the Rosary at 7:30 tonight in the mortuary. Funeral services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in St. Aloysius Church, Bowling Green.

The family suggests tributes to the American Cancer Society or the Bowling Green Swim Club Jorgensen Fund.

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