Bill Merriman of Superior had a warm reception when around 37 friends and family members surprised him with a 90th birthday party at Whipped Up! in Superior. His party was on Oct. 5 to celebrate his birthday, which was on Oct. 9, and in addition to cake and ice cream they enjoyed their choice of a chicken or roast beef dinner.
His wife, Joanie (or “Sparky” as he refers to her), worked closely with the café owners, Michelle and Scott VanTassel, as well as Jackie’s Flowers, for the balloons and party decorations. Special guests at the party included Masons, community business leaders, and friends.
“He was totally surprised,” said Joanie. “Bill has been my strength for 33 years and I wanted to do something special for him.”
The balloons and decorations were red, white and blue to honor Bill (or Glow Plug as she lovingly calls him), who is a World War II veteran. He is also an honored member of the Masons and a member of the Elks and Shriners. Over the years, he has raised and trained thoroughbred horses for the race track. “We had several winners,” said Joanie regarding racing which took place all over the country.
AFTER 35 YEARS of working for the Burlington Northern Railroad, the Merriman’s settled in Superior from Idaho. Over the years, he also drove school buses, he’s a licensed barber, a farrier, and worked as a veterinarian’s assistant. He also supports a number of local groups and charities and is always available to lend a helping hand, his wife said.
“It’s an honor for me to be married to Bill. I’m very proud of him and it was wonderful to have so many come to celebrate his 90th birthday,” Joanie said.
During the evening’s celebration, a poem to Bill entitled, “Ode to Bronco Bill” was read:
“There is a town in Idaho, the town is known as Burke. It was a mining town and the men there really did work. I met a man from there, this man is really fine. Turns out is name is Bill. He’s nice and now he’s mine. Sometimes he’s warm as toast, sometimes he’s cold as ice. I get up in the mornings and just roll the dice.
“Bill worked so very hard and he’s far from being lazy. He’s driven me around so much, he’s gives new meaning to “driving Miss Daisy”. Bill has done so much for me, he actually saved my life. I’m not real sure I’d want live, if I wasn’t Bill’s lucky wife.
“We had our ups and downs, as all married couples do. We don’t disagree a lot, it’s always something new. Bill has a lot of patience, with all my health issues at hand. He takes me where I need to go, he’s truly really grand. I’ll close this poem now in hopes he’ll love this special day. I love him more than anything, happy birthday is what I want to say. THANK YOU BILL FOR BEING YOU!”