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MEEKER I The Range Call committee has selected two exceptional individuals for this year’s parade marshals. The criteria must have been impeccable character, unmatched work ethic, family values and tremendous history in the area. These characteristics describe Dick and Merle Dean Moyer, the well-deserving 2011 Range Call honored guests.
Dick and Merle Dean were both raised in the area and grew up understanding the importance of hard work. Dick’s grandfather Lon Moyer was one of the original homesteaders on Lime Kiln. Dick’s father, George, homesteaded his own piece of land five miles away overlooking Miller Creek. Dick attended the Lime Kiln School until he was nine and his family moved to the Grand Valley.
A picture taken of him when he was 12 shows him standing next to a freshly fallen tree that’s nearly as tall as he is. Dick and his father, working together, cut down the tree with a two-man saw.
“I really enjoyed that summer, it is a privilege to work with your dad,” Dick said.
He joined the Navy and when he came back he returned to the lumber business. He worked for a sawmill in Himer Springs in 1948 and then moved with the work. He was working in a sawmill where Miller Creek flows into the White River when Gared and Janet Evenson introduced him to Merle Dean Hilkey at the St. Patrick’s Day dance in 1950. The two fell in love and were married the same day the following year.
They lived in Meeker for about a year before moving to Pitkin County, then on to Winter Park, Lyons, Walden, Telluride, Paradox, Blanding and Moab, Utah. When their oldest son was ready to begin school, however, they moved back to Meeker to stay.
Merle Dean attended her early years of school at the Marvine School and then went to the Buford School for sixth- through eighth-grade. She lived in the stone house currently owned by the Wix family on her family’s fox farm. She then worked in Meeker to pay her room and board and complete high school. After her marriage to Dick, she worked for the superintendent of schools and helped with bookkeeping for the approximately 30 schools. She has five half brothers and one half sister, all but one of whom will be attending the Range Call Celebration.
Dick and Merle Dean originally leased the land before purchasing their home and former business’ current location. Together with their son, Gary, they operated the lumber yard.
Dick’s exceptional craftsmanship was frequently seen in annual parades and in the lumber yard. He has built amazing tables, statues and art with his chainsaw.
Dick and Merle Dean have four children: Larry (Dianne), Donny (Sue), Beverly (Jim) Brennan and Gary (Betty Lou). They have seven grandchildren and one great-grandchild, Hattie Brennan, six months.
They built their current home in 1968 and added all of the buildings as their lumber business grew.
“It (the business) made a living for our family and taught our children how to work,” they said. There is no question each of their children have learned that skill. Integrity and hard work are synonymous with the Moyer family name.
Asked what they enjoyed most about raising children in Meeker, Merle Dean replied, “It is a small friendly community.”
“People are basically honest,” Dick added.
The concept of family has been important to them for nearly 61 years of marriage. Sitting down to eat dinner together and sharing the day’s activities taught their children the importance of family and passed on their intelligence and business sense.
Their moral foundation is as solid as the buildings they have built. They are fine examples of outstanding citizens and incredible people. Meeker should be very proud to have such outstanding representatives for our 2011 Range Call Celebration.