Longtime CMC instructor battling bone cancer
William Meriwether, who has been teaching photography for Colorado Mountain College in Glenwood Springs and Aspen since 1992, was diagnosed with bone cancer in September. He went from apparent good health to three decomposed vertebra in just a few days.After three weeks at Valley View Hospital in Glenwood Springs and the Vail Valley Medical Center, Meriwether was transferred to the Spalding Rehabilitation Hospital in Aurora on Oct.13.”Things are really looking up,” said Meriwether, who was paralyzed from the waist down a few weeks ago. “I’m improving every day. I already have movement and some control over my legs and lower body, and should regain 90 percent of my ability to walk, if not 100 percent.” He expects to be back in Glenwood in a month.”I’m profoundly grateful for the outpouring of support and friendship and encouragement that I have received from all my friends. I never realized how many friends I have,” William said from his hospital room in Aurora.Many of those friends are current and former students. “I took a class from Bill 15 years ago. It was my first photography class – on composition,” said Carbondale resident Beanna Raso. “I learned a lot about composition from Bill. I got wonderful ideas that I would never thought of on my own. Part of every picture I still take is part Bill. And it’s the best part.”Two years ago when I was in a student show in Aspen, Bill bought one of my prints. It was the first print I ever sold. It was such a complement because he had taken a picture at the exact spot and liked mine better. It was a huge compliment to have him purchase my work.”Bill is such a great photographer and such a gentleman.”One of Meriwether’s strongest cheerleaders is recently retired CMC division director Doug Rinehart. “Bill’s dedication to his students and his passion for photography is what makes him such a good teacher,” Rinehart said.”He is always very popular with the students. He’s very knowledgeable. He’s very thorough in his teaching and very dedicated, and has a passion for photography that he passes on to his students. His classes are almost always filled.”His real area of expertise is alternative processes such as platinum prints.”Platinum metal print making is a 19th-century process where the photographer uses the sun, instead of an enlarger to make prints.”Bill’s pictures always have a sense of the old southwest — sort of the grit and the romanticism of the old Southwest. I have five or six on display in my homes,” says art photographer and fellow CMC adjunct professor Karla Nicholson.”He’s works in alternative processes – in the really old classical techniques that are being lost to digital, platinum, palladium, Van Dyke and cyanotype.”Bill is such a wonderful teacher. I take his classes every chance I get because he’s such an incredible teacher. He’s such a gentleman, always calm, very sensitive and best of all great fun.”Meriwether’s wife, Roberta, is a deaf classical pianist. She also is a CMC adjunct faculty member. She started teaching sign language in Glenwood this semester.Even though she is teaching other people to sign, while Bill is away she needs some help from someone who can hear and sign to her. She can read lips, but it is a slow process for people she isn’t familiar with. Frequently the doctors and bureaucrats from the hospitals, insurance companies and government agencies aren’t patient enough with her. They don’t take the time to make sure she can understand the information they give her so she can make the best decisions for her husband, when she has to.And, it’s frustrating when she doesn’t completely understand what’s happening with William. So, she is looking for some volunteers who can sign and be with her in Glenwood Springs or Denver when she needs help. She can be reached at email@example.com.And, it’s frustrating when she doesn’t completely understand what’s happening with William. So, she is looking for some volunteers who can sign and be with her in Glenwood Springs or Denver when she needs help. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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There are a few extra stories being shared around the tables at the Village Smithy restaurant in Carbondale this week following the death of restaurant founder and longtime community leader Chris Chacos.