The Block Island Times

Publisher's note: A sense of loss, and of place

Aug 25, 2012
Photo by: John Willis Merrill Slate at his home in July, where he sat and welcomed visitors of all kinds.

Merrill Slate died in his sleep at 1 in the morning on Monday. He passed away in his own bed, in the home he had occupied for more than fifty years.

Within hours, most of island community knew that they had lost one of their own. Merrill held a special place in their esteem, and the loss was keenly felt.

Merrill was courtly and kind. A good citizen and a loving husband. He asked little of life and was grateful for what he had. And he had a keenly developed sense of place: of this place, Block Island.

Merrill would spend only three short years “off island” as a member of the U.S. Coast Guard. He would die a few hundred feet up the road from where he was born.

Merrill asked that there be no fanfare at his passing. Still dozens of islanders – many with roots as deep as his – gathered at the bottom of the hill in the Island Cemetery to see him laid to rest next to his wife, Virginia. Members of the American Legion honored his memory and his patriotism.

It is good to remember Merrill and the people like him that give this place a sense of community. It is important to remember his kindness towards his friends and neighbors. We need reminders of the ties that bind us.


Comments (1)
Posted by: Lorraine Sanchez Doten | Sep 02, 2012 23:05

What a happening!,   Your first is picture is the Empire theater that Larry and Margie O'Keefe ran and owned,and your last picture is of Merrill Slate who ran the movies themselves,who I knew because Mr.O'Keefe let me have a "job"   usehering at the age of 12 or 13,all for either a quarter per nite and I got in free otherwise.    I want to extend all my sympathy to all Merrill'sfamily and friends, and would certainly have been to his "private" service as all other friends were.  Sincerely  Raine Sanchez Doten

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