Letters To The Editor

Letter To The Editor: Pete Merrill

I was reading the very well-written obituary about Pete Merrill in the April 18 issue, and it brought back a flood of memories about this extremely talented, caring and fun-loving man. 

I first met Pete in 1971 when after 20 years on the boats, I was being transferred ashore as port captain with Mid-America Transportation Company. This promotion put me in a completely different and challenging environment from my on-board responsibilities.

The St. Louis barging industry had many established companies with highly respected operational staff—a bit intimidating for the new guy on the scene. I needed a friend, and Pete was the guy. He was one of the first to welcome and befriend me. He was already established and respected in the river community, and that show of kindness and acceptance for the new guy was one I’ll never forget. It was so very important at a crucial time in my career. Thankfully, I’ve had the opportunity to “pay it forward” a few times over the years. 

The Merrill Marine Associates listed in the obituary are definitely a who’s who in the field of marine surveyors. I’ve had the opportunity to work with each of them during my time at MATCO. To a man, they were ethical and knowledgeable professionals who went on to establish their own successful companies. This group was a perfect example of the cadre of knowledge being passed on from one generation to the next, a system that has worked so well in the river business from the very beginning. 

The marine industry will surely miss Pete, as will I. He was a friend.

Jerald “Jerry” Tinkey

Godrey, Ill.