A celebration of life ceremony for a Carson man who is thought to have drowned on Sept. 15 in California will be held at 11 a.m. today at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Northern Nevada, 780 Del Monte Lane, in Reno.Logan Merriwether, 24, went swimming from a boat at Lake Almanor in Plumas County, Calif., and failed to return to the boat, according to Search and Rescue Coordinator Mike Grant. As of Friday, his body still had not been found. Search efforts are continuing this weekend, according to Grant.Tammy Soong, 43, Merriwether’s first cousin, said Merriwether had finally come into himself as an adult.“We had gotten him back,” she said. “He had grown into an adult all of a sudden.”The change in Merriwether was seen in his actions. He started coming to family functions and went to lunch with his cousin.“We got to be really close,” Soong said.Soong said she expects today’s public ceremony to be well-attended.Merriwether was supposed to go back to school in the fall for degree in architecture, Soong said.Before deciding to go back to school, Merriwether had been working as a hairdresser.“I think he did it because it was creative,” she said.But hairdressing was not his only creative outlet. Merriwether was also a mechanical person.“He was always trying to fix something,” Soong said. “He could just jump in and not be afraid of it.”Merriwether even combined his love of politics — “he was a total liberal” — and his sense of environmentalism with his sense of mechanical adventure.“He was trying to switch his car to bio-fuel,” Soong said.One of Merriwether’s music teachers helped to inspire him to go back to school, as well as his family, Soong said.“There’s nothing worse than a dream that isn’t realized,” she said.By going back to school, Merriwether was going to realize that dream.“He loved industrial design,” she said. “Building the better spoon, the better chair.”Tia Wendell knew Merriwether since they were little and would play together but it wasn’t until they were high school sophomores in biology class that they became “basically inseparable,” she said.Merriwether graduated from Carson High School in 2006.Then, they had a fight and stopped talking for four years until two years ago, when a chance encounter brought their relationship to where it was when they left off, she said.“We had missed each other so much,” Wendell said.Wendell had been missing Merriwether’s infectious sense of joy.“He was the happiest person I’ve ever met,” she said. “He could always find the positive side of things.”His smile and laughter seemed to be an outpouring of the joy in his soul.“In all his pictures, he had this right beautiful smile,” she said. Wendell loved to bring Merriwether to events because she knew he would be the life of the party, she said.Merriwether turned his idle hands to tinkering with engines and toiling with hair but he also turned them to the fine art of cooking and entertaining.“He always wanted to be making something,” Wendell said. “He lived with my boyfriend,” whom Wendell met through Merriwether, “so he’d always cook us dinner,” she said.Merriwether dragged Madline Thomas out of her house by her toes the night she met her boyfriend of two years and she hasn’t forgotten he did that since.Thomas, 28, said she knew Merriwether for the past 10 years, when they first started working as a pet shop together.“I don’t think he ever had a bad day,” she said.Merriwether’s sense of happiness permeated his whole being, she said.“He was infectious to be around,” she said. “He had contagious happiness.”The joy he radiated went as far as making people love themselves.“Everyone loved the way they felt about themselves when they were around him,” Thomas said.Karen Chandler saw another side of Merriwether’s radiating joy, through his laughter.Chandler taught Merriwether in her advanced theater class in his senior year at Carson High School. He graduated from Carson High in 2006. When Merriwether came into her class, he was very guarded, she said. As he learned to trust his fellow students, he began to laugh and make others laugh more.“It was like watching a flower open,” Chandler said, adding she’s a better person for having known Merriwether.Search and rescue boats, some with human-sniffing dogs and others with side-scan sonar, have put thousands of miles on the water searching for Merriwether in Lake Almanor, which is up to 60 feet deep in the area Merriwether went missing.“We keep going out there and looking,” said Gant. But, he said, “It’s worse than a needle in a haystack.” The Search and Rescue team is still waiting for Merriwether’s body to refloat, which should have happened last weekend, according to Gant. But he said various water- and weather-related conditions can vastly change that time table.Instead of flowers, donations are asked to be sent to the “It Gets Better Project,” found at itgetsbetter.org.
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