In memorium: Roy W. Meyer, 82, professor and author of Everyone’s Country Estate: A History of Minnesota’s state parks

Roy W. Meyer, author of Minnesota’s most authoritative state park history book and longtime Parks & Trails Council member died on July 6, 2007 at the age of 82 in his hometown of Mankato.

Roy Willard Meyer was born on Jan. 20, 1925 on a farm near Zumbrota. After serving in the U.S. Army during World War II, Roy received a B.A. degree from St. Olaf and an M.A. degree from the University of Iowa before moving on to a distinguished career as an English professor at Mankato State University, where he served from 1957 to 1990. He authored five books and had numerous articles published in scholarly journals and environmental publications.

Roy is survived by his wife Betty of Mankato and daughter Annette Meyer of Minneapolis, both of whom provided Roy with invaluable research assistance in the production of his definitive state park history book.

“We are grateful that Roy created such an important historical document that we know will endure for generations of Minnesotans to come,” says Parks & Trails Council Executive Director Dorian Grilley.

In early August, Meyer’s daughter Annette made an unrestricted gift in memory of her father. Her generous donation was placed in the Samuel H. Morgan Land Acquisition Fund to preserve Roy’s legacy and to recognize his friendship with the fund’s namesake, the longtime Parks & Trails Council president who “provided seasoned judgement and encyclopedic knowledge of the park system” to Roy while he was working on his book: Everyone’s Country Estate: A History of Minnesota’s State Parks.

“I know that my father’s involvement with the Parks & Trails Council was important to him,” says Annette. “He always did enjoy nature and liked to get out and hike and camp, and the state parks and trails provided those opportunities for him.”

Minnesota’s parks and trails were something that Roy enjoyed with his family. In fact, Roy writes about taking Annette to Lac qui Parle State Park for a picnic when she was only two months old. “We went to all of the parks when I was a kid,” says Annette. “Even as an adult whenever my parents would go up to the parks along the St. Croix, they would stop by and pick me up in Minneapolis, so I could go up there with them.”

According to Annette, her father was also very interested in the whole Rails to Trails movement and enjoyed looking into the history of the railroads where the trails now run.

Roy actively visited parks and trails until last year, continuing to enjoy established ritual outings with his wife. “For years and years my parents would hike the entire length of the Sakatah Singing Hills Trail at least once every year, taking it a piece at a time picking up where they left off at the end of the previous hike,” says Annette. “They did that until a couple of years ago.”

The Parks & Trails Council’s board of directors thanks Roy and his family for helping to create a lasting state park legacy and for remembering Minnesota’s parks and trails with a generous gift in his memory.