Wednesday, July 02, 2014
By James Lomuscio
William F. “Bill” Meyer III’s empty seat at tonight’s Representative Town Meeting (RTM) stirred an outpouring of tributes, emotion and heartfelt thanks from his colleagues.
Meyer, the ever present, fist pumping town cheerleader during the announcements section of the legislative body, died Saturday night after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 85 and had served 18 years on the RTM—just one of his myriad volunteer activities.
First Selectman Jim Marpe, who welled up recalling Meyer’s positive impact as softball coach to Marpe’s now grown daughter Samantha, said that Westport had lost a town treasure.
“He brought a new meaning to civic duty,” said Marpe. “He was all in when he supported something ...He left his high energy impact on everything.”
And despite what he described as Meyer’s “raucous enthusiasm,” Meyer was also “quiet and unassuming when it came to those in need,” whether delivering Meals on Wheels or mentoring inner-city students.
Following Marpe’s tribute, there was a standing ovation for Meyer.
RTM Moderator Eileen Lavigne Flug said she spent three hours with Meyer about two weeks ago.
“What struck me the most about our visit was how clear it was that in addition to loving his family dearly, Bill loved all of us,” she said.
“He kept a map of Westport in his room. It was from Bill Meyer Day last year signed by hundreds. It was hung right over his bed. He kept a file of papers on his bed that he would read through over and over these past few weeks.
“When I looked to see what it was, it was all of his contact lists from all of the organizations he was involved with and there were many, including the list of all the elected and appointed officials in town.
“He was reading through his lists like he was visiting everyone and remembering what he loved most about Westport.”
RTM member Jack Klinge said he had the “distinct pleasure of knowing Bill 40 years,” from work on girls’ softball to volunteering at the Westport Center for Senior Activities.
“I never heard him say a negative rebuke about anybody,” Klinge said. ” ...For me, Bill made me a better person.”
RTM member Lou Mall recalled Meyer’s sensitivity as a girls’ umpire with his signature, “Oh, dear, I’m sorry, strike three.” Mall also noted that Meyer always put the town’s children first, “and he never voted against a school budget.”
RTM member Paul Rossi described Meyer as “the consummate optimist.”
“He made us all feel good when he was around,” he said.
Arthur Ashman suggested that the Town Hall auditorium seat Meyer regularly occupied have a memorial plaque placed on it, and that it be left empty at future RTM meetings.
“I will miss him cheering us on at RTM meetings,” said Velma Heller. “I am proud to say Bill Meyer was my friend, and I will miss him.”
Posted 07/02/14 at 02:45 AM Permalink