The Ballad of Ty Merle Pree


By Jacob Mauren        , Contributing Reporter

There’s a good chance you’ve heard his name, or even know him personally. Ty Pree, sometimes called Merle by his friends, seems to have made an impression on an impressive number of people. While you may not view him in the brightest light, most people will give an overwhelmingly positive opinion of him.

“In the end, everyone enjoys his presence…he’s a guy no one can ever stay mad at,” said his friend Cade Ealy.

Ty is known for his sometimes crude sense of humor which he describes as “really, really wrong, very dark, absolutely wrong…the crappiest humor.”

But Ty hasn’t always been the way he is now, and there’s more to his life than the bubbly, always smiling Ty that you’ll normally see.

He can pinpoint the biggest turning in his life.

“I’d say my parent’s divorce. I went from being a rich white kid in Robins, to living in an apartment and a house with plywood floors and a disgusting mattress.”

Still, he says he wouldn’t go back to before that happened.

“I think if you would have asked me that three years ago I would’ve said yes, but I think I learned so much more from it…I’ve gained so much more knowledge.”

He didn’t learn these things from the outside, though. Ty will admit he got involved with a not exactly top notch crowd for a little while.

“I got mixed in with wrong people. I found my way all over Cedar Rapids, north and south, and got into bad people, and (now) I know who I shouldn’t be hanging out with, I know who I need, and who I should keep at a distance.”

While it may have not been the brightest time in his life, Ty says it has given him personal confidence and also trust in some of the select few people he met during that time.

“I’m also pretty much not afraid of anyone anymore, and it’s not because I’m a cocky piece of [email protected]#… it’s like I have people that would do literally anything for me.”

Nowadays, if you see Ty walking up to you he probably has a hidden smirk on his face, ready with a quick word or something that he thinks is hilarious to say. Even if you were to watch him work, you might not be able to hear what’s being said, but the faces of him and his co-workers tell the whole story.

“He goes 24/7…the jokes never stop with him,” said Alex Lahmon.

Ty says there’s multiple reasons for the constant comedy. He says he likes to leave a positive impression on the people he sees, and humor is a way that he and his family deal with some more serious topics.

“Like my brother (who had recently been paralyzed from the waist down in a car crash), we started making jokes about it right away…it makes it easier to talk about.”

So the next time Ty hits you with a joke, you might want to stop and see if he really means what he saying, or if he’s just messing with you.

Free time is not something with which Ty is very familiar. Just about every day after school he is at work at Mandarin Spice, doing just about everything besides cooking the food. Even during the summer he’s squeezing every penny out of each day, scrapping metal and doing basic manual labor.

“I like to be financially stable and independent…it’s not always fun, but I haven’t asked my parents for gas or food money in years.”

Ty says the financial aspect of his life is the part that is most planned out. While he may not know what he’s going be doing next weekend during his rare hours off, he already has big plans to start a business with his brother. Using his knack for business and his brother’s expertise in hunting, Ty plans to start a hunting apparel and equipment business, details yet to come. While these plans may change, as Ty’s often do, his friends truly believe he will end up doing something big.

“I’m positive he’s going to do something he loves one way or another…I couldn’t see him settling for much less.”