Obituary: 'Go like Merv!'
After 77 years of “Going Full Out” Merv Fry, on February 27, 2017, took his last earth-bound ski run. On this beautiful sunny day, he paused at the top of his favourite run called Exhibition, mentioned something to his Old B’s Powder Team (OBPT) ski buddies about it being “glorious” and then blasted down making the famous “whoop, whoop” sound the whole way. At the bottom of the run with adrenaline still running through his veins, his body suddenly decided it was done. His friends and family, sad for their loss, began to realize Merv had found the perfect way to go, and with smiles coming back to their faces began to chant, “Go Like Merv, Go Like Merv”.
Merv is survived by Marlene, his beautiful and loving wife of 57 years, and a pack of ski and bike crazed children — Brian (Lora), Darrel (Kim), Teresa (other brother Darrell); and grandchildren — Peter (Rachel), Steven (Kali) Ian, Keegan, Brooklyn and Hope. All have laid claim to his coveted ski locker and awesome tool collection.
Mervyn was born on April 5th, 1939 at Mater Misericordiae Hospital in his beloved Rossland. Other than a short stint when his father (Ian) and mother (Jeanette) were based in Victoria during the war and a year in Trail right after getting married in 1960, he lived in Rossland. He seemed to know everyone and became quite the history buff on the town and region. He would talk the ear off anyone who would listen and at least 50% of his stories were true; you just never knew which 50%.
As a young man, Merv loved baseball and became a pitcher with quite the fastball. Ask any of his children or grandchildren how scary it was to play catch with him. Later, while working for West Kootenay Power, he once again pitched — this time for a softball team where he had to throw underhand. Thank God!
Merv’s favourite sport, however, was skiing. Starting as a young lad he just couldn’t get enough. Back when it used to cost 10 cents a ride up the old Red chair he used to “forget” to pay the attendant for as long as he could. He only ever had one dime.
Merv taught all his kids to ski very young. He thought it would be good if they could keep up so he could ski more, but kids being kids he soon realized he needed a Plan B. Plan B became a quarter for french fries and Dad saying, “I’ll be right back”, after which they wouldn’t see him for hours. It turns out Merv was doing double duty as he had a gang of ski buddies on the side. As the kids became good skiers (the only type of skier you can be at Red if you expect to survive) Merv pretty well went full time with the gang who became his lifelong friends, known as the Old B’s Powder Team. For a treat, go to the far corner of Rafters Bar at the Red Lodge where you find their table and shrine and learn what the B stands for. 🙂
Cars were a huge part of Merv’s life so he decided to make a career out of them. In the 50s he worked at the Rossland Co-op garage, bought his first car at 16 and never looked back. In the 60s he joined Kay Motors in the parts department, and for much of this time he was on the road delivering parts all over the region in fancy new trucks. He was in his glory and he acquired many new friends who had not heard his stories. During the 70s Merv became the sales manager where he got to order lots and lots of cars and drive luxurious executive demonstrators. By the 80s Merv moved on to West Kootenay power to be their fleet manager. Now he had hundreds of cars and really big trucks to play with. He stayed with West Kootenay Power/Fortis until he retired in 2001.
Retirement didn’t slow Merv down one bit. There was plenty of work to do around home and at the kids’ homes. Oh, and there was the little Christina lake project, which in typical Merv fashion had magically grown from a one bedroom cabin concept to a three bedroom lake home. Marlene and Mervyn just loved being out there and the more kids, grandkids, friends, relatives and dogs the better.
What a life, eh! We have decided that since Merv has provided a bona fide excuse we should have a party. Not some wimpy party but a “Go Like Merv” party. We’re going to hold a Celebration of Life event in the main lodge at Red Resort where he changed into his ski boots every morning.
Please join us on Sunday, March 12th at 4:45 pm. The event starts at 5:00 pm. This will be a casual occasion – even ski clothes are welcome. For those who don’t want to drive, the Free Ride Bus shuttle bus to Red runs every hour until 10:00 pm.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation in Mervyn Fry’s name to Rossland and District Search and Rescue, PO Box 459, Rossland, BC, V0G 1Y0.
(Submitted by Brian Fry.)