By Jeff Parkinson
He was the hero in every Western, & I don’t mean those half assed Acid or Spaghetti Westerns, but real horse riding, varmint wrangling, ass kicking men. The kind of rare mix of the best characters portrayed by John Wayne, Clint Eastwood, and Gary Cooper rolled into one, but with far more style.
On October 6, 2012 Merlyn lost a valiant 12 year battle with cancer & we lost a friend, colleague, mentor, inspiration, & without question one of the most unique people our society has ever seen.
When a person dies there tends to be a lot of hyperbole about them because nobody wants to remember any flaws that their loved one may have had. In this case however you’ll find none of that because Merlyn Kinrade was a character that no writer in history could have dreamed up.
A socialite at heart, Merlyn loved to entertain, but he was never afraid to put the so called upper class in their place. Be it the mayor, the OPP commissioner, his local council, or a room full of negotiators, Merlyn always had the time and the fortitude to sit down and tell them why they’re wrong and he’s right. I don’t phrase that in the past tense because it remains true that they’re wrong & he’s right.
There are far too many stories of this occurrence to be told in one sitting, but one of my favorites is the night he walked in the back door of a closed meeting of federal negotiators at the Caledonia arena.
Not knowing he wasn’t supposed to be there, he made himself at home and spent hours taking everyone to task for failing his family and his community. They tried to feed him from their lavish tax payer funded buffet but he refused to touch it. They tried to calm him with platitudes but he refused to waver.
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