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Dick Livingston Merriam, born Jan. 6, 1926 in Manti, Utah, to Edwin Lorin and Isabell (Livingston) Merriam, passed away Jan. 23, 2014, at the Walbridge Wing in Meeker, Colo.
Dick grew up in Manti, and was the youngest of five children. While still in school, he worked for Blackham, a turkey farmer.
His brother, DeWayne, came to Colorado to work with an uncle who had sheep ranches, and, after being graduated from high school, Dick joined DeWayne herding sheep.
The uncle set the boys up with a sheep ranch, which included Scenery Gulch, Smith Gulch, the old “Fritzlan Place,” and the Ward ranch (which is now Rio Blanco Lake). Their permits included Lost Solar, Long Park and some patented land just across from Lake Avery.
On a trip to Meeker for supplies, Dick met the love of his life, Nyla Taylor, who happened to be working at her father’s general store. They were married Feb. 21, 1948. To this union, five children were born: John (Sally), Donald (Kathy), Gary (Patti), Joyce (Dale), and Gordon (Beth).
After their uncle passed away, they sold the sheep. Dick’s career then became a propane gas delivery route driver with Household Gas, later sold to CalGas, where Dick was plant manager and serviceman.
Dick served on the Meeker Town Council for two terms, during which time the town received the Walbridge Trust. He was instrumental in helping establish the Walbridge Wing Long-Term Nursing Facility.
He also served on the Meeker Sanitation Board, Pioneers Hospital Board and more than 17 years on the Meeker Fire Department and ambulance service. Now there are three generations of Merriam firefighters, and he was very proud of that.
After retiring, Dick spent time enjoying his family, including 17 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren.
He and Nyla spent a lot of time on bleachers and in gyms watching their kids’ and grandkids’ sporting events and other activities. He also played a vital part in building the John B. Irwin baseball field.
Preceding Dick in death were: his parents; sisters Erma, Illa and Zada; his brother DeWayne; his son-in-law, Dale Hawkins; and a grandson, Jason Merriam.
In addition to his wife of 65 years, he is survived by his children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, many nieces and nephews, and a multitude of friends.
Dick was known for his glib remarks and sense of humor; he never knew a stranger. Many fond memories of his laugh and the many kindnesses he extended to friends and neighbors by mowing their lawns and shoveling snow.
Donations to Meeker Fire and Rescue or Meeker Walbridge Wing may be made in lieu of flowers.