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Neighbors: Saying goodbye to old friends

Hello neighbor.

It was a sad week here in Franklin County.

First, I want to send my condolences to the family and friends of Diane Marie (Beauregard) Lapean, who was a good friend of mine when we were in elementary school, growing up in Turners Falls. We had a lot of great times back then.

I remember Diane always happy, always the jokester. She kept us all laughing no matter how unhappy something else might have been making us at the time. She really was one of those people who always saw the glass half full.

I saw Diane a few times over the years and we had nice conversations, but I can’t say we continued the friendship. I do envy those of you who did, because she was a very special person.

Rest in peace, Diane, and my thoughts and prayers are with the rest you who lost a beautiful wife, mother, daughter, sibling and friend.

Then, last weekend my daughter Christina called me to tell me that her favorite high school teacher had died at the age of 51.

Tim Merritt taught English at Frontier Regional School for almost a decade before becoming principal at Sunderland Elementary School.

Christina told me that the first day she walked into Tim’s class, she was a freshman, he had not yet arrived but had “The Freshman” by The Verve Pipe playing.

“I knew it was going to be a good year,” she said.

Christina took his class again when she was a senior and worked on the school newspaper with him. The two kept in contact over the years and most recently, Tim, who also had twins, gave Christina a bag full of clothes for Owen and Travis. He was so excited that she had twins.

I know Christina will miss him, as will many of the students whose lives he touched in such a positive way.

Within hours of hearing the news, many of his former students were posting beautiful messages about him on Facebook. Such a wonderful tribute! It is clear that Tim Merritt will be sorely missed and the world — at least our little world — is worse off without him.

Thank you, Tim, for everything you did for our children over the years.

And now, here’s what’s going on throughout the county:

DEERFIELD’S SIXTH ANNUAL TAG SALE DAY will be held throughout Deerfield on Saturday. For times and a list of locations, and how to get a permit, visit: www.deerfieldattractions.com.

SCOTT VETTERLING CHAPTER 33 of the Disabled American Veterans will hold its annual fundraiser, the Forget-Me-Not Drive, to raise money to assist veterans in need on Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Foster’s Super Market and Stop & Shop in Greenfield, as well as Food City in Turners Falls and Walmart in Hadley. So, keep your eyes open for those volunteers when you are out this weekend.

PIONEER VALLEY REGIONAL SCHOOL will sponsor a tag and craft sale on Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon as part of the school’s homecoming activities. Vendors are invited to participate by calling the class adviser at 413-863-9234. Spaces are $10 each and proceeds will go toward the class trip.

LARRY JUBB SR. wrote to tell me about a nice gesture he observed last week.

“I have played a lot of golf tournaments over the past 60 years, where there have been all sorts of awards and prizes,” he told me. “But last Friday beat them all!”

He said Greenfield’s former Deputy Police Chief Joe LaChance and Montague’s former Police Chief Ray Zukowski, both justices of the peace, offered to officiate a wedding for free as one of the prizes.

“The justices made the offer during a tournament to raise money to help TRIAD seniors pay for fuel and related bills,” said Larry.

Both men are deputy sheriff TRIAD officers.

What a nice and creative way to give to their community.

NORTHFIELD MOUNT HERMON SCHOOL is bringing the Harlem Wizards to campus for an event that will raise money for the Jill E. Harrington Hanzalik Memorial Fund, a local charity started a few years ago by her brother, former NBA player Adam Harrington.

On Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in the Forslund Gym on the school campus, the Wizards will play the NMH Chase Your Dream Team, a team made up of faculty and students.

Tickets are $10 in advance and $12 at the door. Two courtside Celtics tickets will be raffled during the game.

For more information, visit: www.chaseyourdreamsnow.org.

PIONEER VALLEY REGIONAL SCHOOL band will hold a fundraiser on Oct. 20 at 1:30 p.m. with a nine-hole scramble at Crumpin-Fox Golf Course in Bernardston. The award-winning band plans to travel to Tennessee next spring to compete in the 2014 Heritage Music Festival.

That’s so exciting — I’ve heard the band play and it is great.

The price to play in the scramble is $60, which covers the golf, a cart, practice on the driving range and a nice dinner.

Sign up soon, because there are only 72 slots for golf. And, if you are not a golfer, don’t let that stop you, because you can have dinner with the golfers for $15.

For more information, contact Jennifer Stennes at 413-522-8564.

To contact Anita Fritz, a staff reporter at The Recorder, send an email to: franklincountyneighbors@gmail.com or call 413-772-0261, ext. 280. You can also reach Anita on Facebook at Anita’s Neighbors. Information to be included in Neighbors may also be sent to: neighbors@recorder.com up to noon two days before you want it to run.

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