-by Stu Paterson
His friends, his mules and a wooden wagon carried former newspaper editor Jim Merriam to his final resting place this week.
Merriam, one of the best story tellers around, died September 19th in Tara after a 21-year battle with cancer.
His obituary noted “Jim was a brilliant writer, and his career as a journalist showcased those skills. He could make us cry, laugh or even fire us up to support an important community cause.” Everyone in Grey-Bruce had heard of and respected Jim Merriam.
Jim Merriam was a reporter, a city editor, an editor, a publisher of the daily Owen Sound Sun Times, a radio personality, a syndicate columnist.”
Over the years, I had several chats with Jim mostly about the media. My main memory of him was that he had a special talent for story telling with lots of humour thrown in.
He was buried in a home-made simple design wood casket. The graveside service was supposed to be private, but several hundred people attended in respect of this community icon.
Along the route from Tara to the Tara Cemetery, hundreds of people, many who had never met Jim, gathered to pay him a final tribute.
Some youngsters made “hee-haw” sounds as the casket passed, something Merriam would have laughed at.
As his obituary concluded “ he will be missed by so many whose lives he touched…Jim would want us to remember him with a smile…his sense of humour was second to none and his laughter could fill a room.”