James D. Merys|
Mar. 3, 1932 - May 2, 2013
Resident of Antioch
Jim Merys - loving husband and father, gentle friend. Jim's character in his relationships with others was as steadfast, loving, and kind as it could be contentious and, as some might even charge: austere. Survivor of his wife Betty by eight years, Jim's love for her did not flag nor fail. He remained devoted to Betty during her own decline when her mind could no longer recognize or cherish Jim as her own true, lifelong love. Jim remained at Betty's side during the last years of her life, tending to her, caring for her, deeply committed to her, loving her all the while.
Jim knew that Betty was the perfect girl for him even as he admitted that there were times when Betty's behavior could be quite puzzling. He never quite understood, for example, in their early days, he a sailor and she a new bride, how she could possibly think that she was protecting him by hugging him and pinning his arms when a bar fight between Jim and another was certain and imminent. Jim took three to the chin. Accepting that his relationship with Betty would result in similar handicap in the future Jim decided that there would be no more bars and sailor's fights for him.
Jim is survived by his son Steve. Steve and Jim enjoyed a productive relationship characterized by mutual respect, shared values, and, at times, complementary points of view. As companions they enjoyed the outdoors while hunting, boating, and motorcycling. They spent countless hours over bottomless cups of coffee talking about cars, firearms, and work. This year, and due to Jim's declining health, Steve took leave from his work in order to provide continuous care for Jim. Their friendship strengthened as their lives became even more intertwined by the circumstance of Jim's health. Jim left this world with his fading hand lovingly cradled by the warm, guiding strength of Steve's own.
Jim is also survived by his daughter Debra. In many families one child is a parent's twin and exception has not been made in Jim's family. Perhaps no other two people exist that could be more similar in mannerisms, outlook, and temperament than Jim and Debra. And, as could be anticipated, the tempest between the two was frequent, robust, and resounding while without acrimony. Jim loved Debra dearly.
Jim was blessed with four grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. The first to arrive on the scene was Brody, the son of Jim's former daughter-in-law Linda. Jim also delighted in Debra's children - Kory, Betsy, and Katy as well as with Katy's daughter London.
Jim joined the Navy as an electrician during the Korean War and served his country while putting out to sea from his home port of Vallejo. Jim remained in California when the war ended where he became a master electrician out of IBEW Local #6, joined the Masons, and worked as foreman on a variety of complex industrial and commercial projects. The most memorable projects to Jim under his leadership were the rewiring of both the Golden Gate Bridge and the Bank of America Pyramid building in San Francisco.
Jim was an enthusiastic model airplane hobbyist who built and assembled many beautifully crafted and fully functioning machines. Numerous tail sections of some of these flying models, or, in other words, the remaining, post-flight, intact portions, were mounted to the ceiling of Jim's garage workshop as testimony to his model flying abilities.
Jim was a voracious and critical reader and could be found most evenings absorbed in the pages of some trade journal, news magazine, or book. Jim was a deep and imaginative thinker and enjoyed talking with others about discoveries made during his life-long quests for knowledge and improvement.
At the end of the day Jim was, and remains so in our hearts and minds, a kind, loving, devoted husband and father and a loyal and steadfast friend. We miss him.
The visitation will be held on May 10th, at Higgins Chapel from 10am-12pm with a graveside service at Oak View Memorial Park at 12:30 pm.
Published in Contra Costa Times on May 8, 2013