Vaughn “Jim” Merritt was born on January 17, 1935 to Edwin Julius and Isabelle Margaret Merritt in Seattle, Washington. He passed away surrounded by family and his loving and carrying wife, Mary Jane (“Janie”).
He graduated from Issaquah High School in 1953, joining the Pine Lake Volunteer Fire Department (King County Fire District #10) at age 19, serving Fire District 10 and the community for 43 years, until 1996. Jim served as a volunteer firefighter with Janie’s father (Leonard Tanska) during the formative years when Station 4 and the fire district was established.
Jim served in the Naval Reserves for eight years from December 7, 1952 to December 7, 1960. He was honorably discharged as a Yeoman Second Class from the U.S. Naval Reserve in Seattle, Washington.
In the early years Jim worked with his mother and father in-law who owned and operated “Quality Egg Service, an egg factory at Pine Lake, work at BOEING, drove school buses; whatever it took to provide for his family. He owned and operated a lighting an appliance store with his brother Jack. He also owned and operated “Associated Agencies”, a sales representative business for major airlines manufacturers with his brother, Jack and his dad, Ed.
Jim and Janie Merritt were married on June 12, 1955 and had five boys; Chris, Warren, Jeff, John and Bill. They made their home in the Pine Lake area for more than 40 years until his retirement when they made their way to the mountains in Easton, Washington; their dream. Jim served as a Commissioner with Kittitas County Fire District #3 until they moved to the West Valley in Yakima, Washington in 2007.
When they moved to the West Valley in Yakima Jim contacted the local fire department and indicated his interest in helping out. It only took about 10 months until the opportunity to serve came up once more and Jim was selected as a fire commissioner. Jim served as a Commissioner for Yakima County Fire District #12 from April 2008 until June 9, 2015, capping a 61 plus year career in the Washington fire service. He was recognized by the Washington Fire Commissioners in the Fall of 2015 at their annual conference with all of his family in attendance.
A celebration of life is being held at 1 pm on May 13, 2017 – Pine Lake Community Club.