EDITOR'S NOTE: The late Bill Meyer was a member of Westport Sunrise Rotary. The following was delivered as a eulogy at the group's meeting on Friday, July 11.

On the eve of the memorial service for one of our most dedicated members, I thought it only fitting that I open today's meeting of Sunrise Rotary by offering a eulogy to Bill Meyer, my friend and my (Rotary) sponsor. I didn't get a chance to say goodbye -- but I know he is here with us.

While many of believe we leave this life to go to a better place, we know Bill did. He also left Westport a better place. And we are better people for having known Bill, having seen him in action, having volunteered with him.

Bill Meyer was the consummate volunteer. And I am proud to say that after many years of fending off his urgings, I gave in -- and I'm glad I did -- but sad that I became one of the last members he sponsored.

He set the bar high, and I am honored that he put my name forward to a volunteer organization he so loved. I think I was his 32nd or 33rd sponsee.

As I mentioned to you at my induction, I first met Bill when he was umpiring my now-15-year-old daughter's seventh-grade softball game. He would announce each girls name before she batted. And he would often let more than three strikes go by before saying "No, I am sorry honey, that was the third strike." He made the girls feel good about themselves -- he made us all feel good when he was around.

I remember saying to my then co-coach "Who is this guy?" The strike zone seemed to vary with the batter and the situation. I soon came to know Bill more and more. The light bulb eventually went off. I "got it" about Bill. He always had a kind word. He was genuinely interested in people.

The most important lesson I learned from Bill was to give of yourself, be kind, and -- this is the main message -- give people a big strike zone.

I, like all of you, will miss him dearly. He was truly the epitome of Rotary's motto -- "Service above Self."

Paul Rossi