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