James “Jim” “Big Chief” Lawrence Merritt Sr., 82, of Stonewood, while surrounded by his loved ones, went home to meet his Heavenly Father and be rejoined with his wife Barbara on Monday, July 4, 2022 after a painful and courageous battle with lung cancer. Jim was born September 29, 1939, at his grandparents’ home in Flemington, WV. He is the son of the late Pearl Cain Folstrom and Joe Isabella and was raised by his grandparents the late James and Ida Cain as well as raised by Andy and Stella Booth. He married the love of his life Barbara Ellen Carle on June 6, 1964 at Mt. Lake Park in Garrett County, Maryland. They spent 49 loving years together when she passed away April 9, 2013. There wasn’t a day that went by Jim didn’t long to see his Barbara again. Jim is survived by his son James “Jamie” Merritt, Jr. and wife Laura of West Milford, WV; his daughter Julie Earl and husband Nathan, of Anmoore, WV. Six grandchildren Timothy James, Justin Lawrence and fiancée Hope Knotts, Tanner Michael, Jamielynn Jolene, Santino James Luca, and Julianna Kinsley. One great grandchild Odin Lawrence. Jim is also survived by his doting sisters and brothers-in-law Myrtle and Earl Reed of Moatsville, WV, and Rose and Jack Thebo of Traverse City, Michigan. Sister-in-laws Dorothy Carpenter of Nutter Fort, WV and Patty Kalleel of Clayton, NC and brother-in-law Tom Modesitt of Walker, WV. A special niece and nephew Sharon Righman and Charles “Chuck” Reed. A special cousin Raymond Cain and wife Donna. His granddog Huckleberry that was always near and eager to clean up his crumbs he dropped. Jim is also survived by many nieces, nephews, step grandchildren, and many friends that were as close as family. In addition to his wife, parents and grandparents, Jim was preceded in death by his sister Edna Marie Cain. Jim worked ever since he could walk starting with working on the farm, cutting timber, parking cars, and in oil and gas. Jim found his lifelong career in the West Virginia coal mine industry. He started out as a coal miner, then as an electrician in the coal mines before he found his passion and love as a coal truck driver. He worked for various companies before spending most of his tenure at Raymond Liberati Trucking Company for 29 years. It was in the trucking industry he became affectionately and notoriously known as “Big Chief” on the CB Radio. Jim was a loyal and loved employee with only taking a few sick days due to heart attack and surgery in his entire career. Jim believed if you didn’t work 16 hour days you weren’t working. He was a highly sought after truck driver for his perfect driving record, knowledge, his well-known dedication and work ethic. He ended his 50 year career in the coal industry when he retired from Roblee Coal Company with 15 years of service in 2008. Jim also enjoyed fixing and rewiring electronics. People from all over would bring CB radios, CB mics, scanners and an array of broken electronics for him to fix. He had a true knack for fixing anything electronic and was fascinated on how things worked. Jim was always known as a jokester and a hustler as well as a man that always seen the best in people even when others didn’t. He was easy to talk to and was always ready to shoot the breeze at the table while smoking out his window watching the neighborhood. You couldn’t help but love his easy going personality and his view of the world. He could stack a deck like a true outlaw and loved watching westerns. He hated wastefulness and truly enjoyed the simple things out of life. He was extremely dedicated to his family and friends and could always be counted on. Jim took truly care of the ones he loved. He enjoyed watching his grandchildren grow up and lovingly teasing them. Jim was a member of The First Baptist Church of Nutter Fort. Jim will undoubtedly be missed by many. The family would like to thank Amedisys for the help in his care and his wonderful nurse Maria Renzelli. Jim handled his diagnosis with courage and lived each of his last days in great spirits, never once complaining or feeling sorry for the cards that he was dealt. His response was simply, “The Lord knows what he is doing.” Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyways. – John Wayne Jim always found sending plants or flowers as a waste of money. If you feel compelled to do something please just make a donation to your local church, parish or your favorite charity. Family and friends may call the Amos Carvelli Funeral Home, 201 Edison Street, Nutter Fort, WV, from 4:00 to 8:00 pm Thursday, July 7, 2022. The funeral service will be held on Friday, July 8, 2022 at 1:00 pm at Amos Carvelli with Pastor Ron Owens presiding. He will lie in state for 1 hour prior to the service. Interment will follow in the Stonewall Park Cemetery, Stonewood, WV. Expressions of sympathy may be extended to the family at www.amoscarvelli.com. A service of Amos Carvelli Funeral Home.
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