Our daughter Meredith passed away yesterday after a long struggle. Fortunately, she didn’t seem to be in pain at the end. We’re indebted to the Altamaha Health Center and the Hospice of South Georgia, both in Jesup, for their care.
Merry was the inspiration for Jeri Tully, the handicapped girl in Ancient Shores and Thunderbird whose mind connected with the Wind Thing, the invisible visitor from another world. That occurred whenever it was nearby. It provided her, during those brief periods, with normal perception and capabilities. And she became a character that readers fell in love with.
There was only one movie character who, as far as we could tell, ever touched Merry emotionally: That was Darth Vader. Approximately twenty years ago Merry was with Maureen and me when we attended Dragoncon in Atlanta. David Prowse, who had played the role in the first three films, was a guest. We were able to meet him, and spend some time with him. He was very kind to Merry, and autographed a Darth Vader picture for her: To Merry, The Force Is Strong In You. He signed it as both David Prowse and Darth Vader. It still hangs on the wall in the bedroom that used to be hers.
And he had it right about the Force. We realized yesterday that she will remain with us forever.