Merle Jay Meyers of Bannock Creek, Pocatello, ID, passed away on Friday, Aug. 29, 2014, while enjoying one of his most treasured pastimes – showing reined cow horses at the Magic Valley Futurity of the Idaho Reined Cow Horse Association. Jay was 65 at the time of his passing.
Jay was the second child born to Merle and Dorothy Meyers at the family ranch on Midnight Creek in Arbon Valley. During his early years, the family lived in the old one room schoolhouse at Rooster Rock on the Arbon Highway. In 1958, the family moved to their current ranch which they broke out of sagebrush. Jay often said that “every post hole, every strand of barbed wire fence, and every piece of junk farm equipment on the place” was a result of their efforts to carve their dream to have their own ranch out of the dry sagebrush flats. Jay inherited his love for cows and the cowboy lifestyle from his father Merle. His deep-rooted passion for it never ceased, and he eventually bought the ranch from Dorothy after Merle’s passing in 1984.
Jay attended school in American Falls and participated in wrestling and rodeo. His dream of becoming an attorney stemmed from an experience he had as a boy goose hunting with his father and Lou Racine, a prominent Pocatello attorney. Jay said that Mr. Racine had spare change bouncing around on the floor boards of his truck, something that his own family certainly did not have. After high school he attended several college rodeo teams, occasionally making it to class and teaching speed reading on the side.
He married Paula Liese in 1971 shortly before moving to Moscow for law school. While there he continued to rodeo as much as possible and braided bull ropes for gas money to go to rodeos. He failed his torts class because he had been too busy going to rodeos, and the professor told him he would never make it as a lawyer. Jay went on to have an incredibly successful career that he loved, arguing over 20 Idaho Supreme Court cases and serving on the Idaho State Bar Character and Fitness Committee. His goal was to practice law for 50 years, and he made it to 40. He was especially thankful for his partners and secretaries whom he worked with over the years.
In 1985 Jay’s son John was born. Jay taught him a strong work ethic and integrity through his example. Jay and John sent each other weekly emails titled “Weekend Reports” detailing their pursuits and activities which are a treasured store of wisdom and guidance from father to son. Last week, Jay flew to Nashville to visit John, Courtney, and Porter, and they all deeply enjoyed a fortuitous weekend together before his unexpected passing.
Jay married Ranae Pumphrey in 1992 and together they worked to build a successful horse and cow operation and raise their family. Each springtime was filled with mud and new baby calves and branding, summertime brought 4-H horse shows while John and Jamie were young, the cows were rounded up and calves weaned each fall, and winter brought feeding hay and ensuring stock watering tanks weren’t iced over.
Jay and Ranae welcomed the birth of their daughter Jamie in 1994. Jamie was the light of their home and filled each day with precious laughter and joy. She loved her horses, longhorn cow, kittens, and helping her parents around the ranch. Her tragic passing in 2003 left a huge scar on the hearts of everyone that loved her.
After Jamie’s passing and with John at college, Jay and Ranae became heavily involved with training and showing their horses in regional reined cow horse competitions. Jay’s goal was to win Reno on a horse he had bred, trained, and shown himself, and he won multiple year-end championships. In 2010 Jay was inducted into the Eastern Idaho Horseman’s Hall of Fame for his tireless efforts to promote equine pursuits in Idaho. Jay and Ranae have been greatly assisted in their ranching and showing pursuits and express much appreciation to Andy and Bailey Lusk.
Jay is preceded in death by his daughter Jamie, his father Merle, beloved mentors Sherm Swim, Mr. Elwell, and Herman McDevitt. He is survived by his wife Ranae, mother Dorothy, son John, daughter-in-law Courtney, grandson Porter, brother and sister Jerry and Judy, and a multitude of loving nieces and nephews.
The family would like to invite family and friends to the viewing on Thursday, Sept. 4, from 6 to 8 p.m. at Colonial Funeral Home, as well as visitation and funeral from 4 to 5 and then 5 to 6 p.m. respectively on Friday, Sept. 5, at Grace Lutheran Church in Pocatello. Internment will follow at Falls View Cemetery in American Falls.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations may be made to the Jamie Meyers Memorial Fund at Grace Lutheran School, 1350 Baldy Ave., Pocatello, ID.
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