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Spokane

Simple service honors Meyer

Sat., Feb. 14, 2009

Remembered as farmer, he served as legislator and activist for prairie

He made his mark on Idaho through 10 years in the state Legislature, fighting for causes including education and the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer. But Wayne Meyer wanted to be remembered as a farmer.

That was the message delivered to more than 500 people who packed St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene on Friday to say goodbye to a man whose name became synonymous with bluegrass farming on the Rathdrum Prairie.

Meyer died Tuesday of colon cancer. He was 59.

The service was short, and there was no eulogy. When it ended, a procession of cars traveled across Meyer’s precious prairie to Evergreen Cemetery in Post Falls, where he was buried.

Meyer was born in Colfax in 1949 and moved with his family in 1964 to the Spokane Valley, where they began farming the Rathdrum Prairie.

He graduated from Washington State University in 1971 with a degree in agronomy, and at 23 he purchased property on the prairie. Over the years, his family has farmed up to 3,000 acres of land they either owned or leased, news stories said.

Meyer’s daughter, Jamie, leased farmland from him with her husband, Lance Deacon, and their three children.

Meyer was elected to the Legislature in 1995 and served five terms. In the following years, he remained involved in state politics through memberships in the Coeur d’Alene and Rathdrum chambers of commerce.

But it was farming that remained the constant in his life.

A guest-book table at the church held mementos from his life: The commendation Meyer received recently from Gov. Butch Otter for distinguished public service. A family photograph and a portrait. A wrench and pair of pliers.

A photo montage, set to children reading a poem titled, “I’m just a farmer plain and simple,” showed Meyer through the phases of his life – marrying Karleen, his wife of 38 years, playing with his daughter and his grandchildren, golfing and skiing, but mostly working his land in his overalls.

Local country musician Kelly Hughes, Meyer’s adopted son, played acoustic guitar and sang.

As people filed out, his a cappella rendition of “Amazing Grace” filled the room.

“They buried a farmer today, gave him back to the dirt from which he came,” read a poem in the program.

“A good life, a simple life, that’s what he led. He’d struggled like most but came out ahead. He enjoyed his last years, and made sure that he thanked the good Lord above for his life and his land.”



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