RIP "Uncle Bill" Mertz,on your final Grand Trip - Mountain Buzz
 

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Old 01-11-2013   #1
btt
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Posts: 71
RIP "Uncle Bill" Mertz,on your final Grand Trip

Just found out that Bill Mertz,of Grand Junction,Colo passed at his home due to heart attack.He was a familiar face on all the major rivers of the West,but especially had a soft spot in his heart for the "hometown" run of Westwater,the Grand,and the Salmon.

He was a volunteer Ranger for many years at Westwater.He bought his beautiful,bright yellow 19' Hyside bucket boat new in 1993,and it would be a fixture on all the western rivers for the next 20 years,until the trip mileage turned the exterior snow white in color---still holds air for days to this day---a ready-to-go-anytime tribute to Bills love of water.

You always knew Bill would be an asset on any trip---his hard work ethic,laughter,logic,and stories will be sorely missed.I hope other folks will have clearer photos of him(he's sitting on the white pad,below Skull),and other stories to share---this is the last trip i had the privilege to take with him on his beloved Westwater 8/14/11.

A service will be held for him at Mesa Funeral Services 2825 North Ave Grand Junction,Colo---(970)-243-9999,at 6pm,on Sunday Jan 13th,2013.

If you cant attend,please share your "Uncle/Mr. Bill" stories/photos here,and let the family know what he meant in the river community.

thanx
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Old 01-12-2013   #2
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Hi btt,

Thanks for posting that -- although it's sad to hear.

I worked with Bill at WW, boated with him, and shared a lot of time just sitting around telling river stories and other lies. A thoroughly enjoyable guy, who will be sorely missed.

My condolences to his family.

Rich Phillips
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Old 01-12-2013   #3
BCJ
 
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Grand Junction, Colorado
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Thanks for posting that BTT. Boated with Bill a time or two also and always enjoyed his company. He was a good man, personable, sincere and easy to be around. May he RIP.
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Old 01-12-2013   #4
 
Moab, Utah
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Bill will be missed!!

Fortunately I had the opportunity to enjoy Bill and his yellow 'behemoth boat' on a number of Westwater trips and two Grand Canyon adventures over the years. I will never forget assisting him while he shaved his head in the Lee's Ferry bathroom, his red clown nose that he would attach above Crystal, canned meat, body bags and P38s or a variety of other adventures including 'I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay'.
A truly unique and special person!! Bill will be missed by many - although stories of his antics will continue. Thanks to him for the good memories and the insightful lessons.
My condolences to all of his family and my thoughts of comfort and peace for them in his absence.
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Old 01-12-2013   #5
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
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RIP Bill. You lived big.

Can't believe he is gone.
Can't believe he still had that monster yellow bucket boat.

And Jen I remember him shaving his head at the put in.
And the big smile when he came out with his head shining.

Its been a few years since I saw him but there were many river miles and smiles shared.
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Old 01-15-2013   #6
 
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Looked at river photos of many trips with Bill, a Selway, a couple Grands and too many Westwaters. He always had a smile on his face. Unfortunetly all the photos were pre-digital. Anyone have any recent photos? We need to do a Memorial Westwater trip for his river buddies.
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Old 01-15-2013   #7
 
Highlands Ranch, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1987
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I ran the Grand with Bill in 2009. He was one of the most fun people to boat with that I have ever met just a genuinely nice guy and a huge asset to our trip. I still remember the all important river signal for "I'm okay. I have no pants. Go get my boat" that Bill taught us above Lava. He will be missed.

I have pics that I can dig up at home. I'll be sure to post some.
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Old 01-15-2013   #8
 
Golden, Colorado
Paddling Since: 1999
Join Date: Jul 2004
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RIP Bill

This is very sad. He was "Waver" on Mountainbuzz. I had the good fortune to boat with Bill a few times, most notably a December Grand Trip back in 2005. He was quite a riot on that trip, very knowledgeable and a real asset. I was TL and it was my first trip, and he seemed to know every last nook and cranny of the place.

One memory that stands out was his love of the trash fire, much to the chagrin of the younger environmentally minded trip participants. Each night in camp a large fire would be stoked while Bill would ceremonially incinerate the days garbage. Ostensibly this was done in the name of "volume reduction" but Bill clearly looked forward to it. Paper, plastic, aerosol cans, he didn't care, it all went in. He would sometimes sing a song: "It's garbage night! It's garbage night! Tonight's the night we light the light!" A black plume of smoke billow out over camp while the enviros looked on in horror.

A couple of photos from that trip: Bill with Don and Tara on Tequila Beach after surfing a hole in Lava. The rest of that day is gone from my memory courtesy of that bottle Bookers he's holding. Bill with the crew at the end of the trip.

Bill will be missed!
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Old 01-15-2013   #9
BCJ
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rich View Post
Looked at river photos of many trips with Bill, a Selway, a couple Grands and too many Westwaters. He always had a smile on his face. Unfortunetly all the photos were pre-digital. Anyone have any recent photos? We need to do a Memorial Westwater trip for his river buddies.
I''d love to be included on the Westwater Memorial Trip to celebrate the fun-loving, kind, generous person that I remember Bill to be.

Graci
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Old 01-15-2013   #10
 
Vernal, Utah
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You will be missed Bill. Rest In Peace.
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