The sound of laughter outweighed the tears on Saturday as family and friends of Ed Myer gathered to share stories of a man described as an incredible role model for both children and adults.
The Myer family held a Celebration of Life at the Hydetown Volunteer Fire Department on Saturday. The hall was packed with food, hugs, stories and memories. Myer died on Feb. 27.
Myer was born on Oct. 11, 1935 in Hydetown. He was a graduate of Colestock High School, class of 1953. He attended Penn State University and Slippery Rock University, earning a master’s degree in Parks and Recreation Education. He became Recreation Director in 1957 for the City of Titusville and the Titusville Area School District. He served in that capacity for 42 years. He was devoted to his profession and community. He built a recreation program that was designated as a model by the Pennsylvania Recreation and Park Society for other communities to emulate.
Saturday’s celebration touched on the significance of his profession, but focused on the stories of how he impacted every person he came in contact with. The event was described as “uplifting” by his friend, Terry Funk. “That’s what Ed would want,” Funk said.
Following Funk’s opening remarks, each of Myer’s children — Judy, Bob, Bill, Joan and Jim — took turns telling stories of what it was like to grow up in the Myer household. They each spoke of his wisdom, the time he shared, his hard work and persistence.
Chopping and stacking wood was a common theme as stories were shared. There was one occasion where Myer, and his brother, Phil, rousted the children out of bed before the sun came up. Ed and Phil packed them in a truck, headed for a wooded area and started chopping down trees. It was the children’s job to haul the chopped wood back to the truck by toboggan.
They shared the lasting impact their father had in their lives from a lack of obeying stop signs to skills in the art of creating things from plaster.
After each of the Myer children spoke, his brother, Phil took the microphone. Being five years younger than Ed wasn’t always easy, Phil told those gathered. “There was a time that we didn’t get along,” Phil said. “He picked on me. But then I got old enough to go out for wrestling. He stopped picking on me then.”
Phil added that his brother had a lot of influence on a lot of people. “He lives on in a lot of people’s hearts,” he said.
Even though they “disagreed on everything,” Dick Nichols told those gathered that Myer was his best friend for 42 years. He called Myer a “shaker and mover” — with the exception of one occasion where Nichols prevented his movement. Myer was attending a meeting one night. Nichols knew that he would be racing to get from that meeting to another. He jacked up Myer’s truck and watched from a hidden spot. As expected, Myer hurriedly jumped in his truck, started it, put it in drive and went nowhere. He put it in reverse, but still no movement. Nichols revealed his prank, but they remained best friends. “If I were in a fox hole fighting for my life, I’d want Ed beside me,” Nichols said.
Jim Come related the story of how he met the man who gave him his first job in the basket room of the recreation complex. Come was a young boy sitting on a swing, where he spent many mornings. His father had died recently. “He didn’t know me,” Come said of Myer. “But he knew I needed something.” Throughout his young career working for Myer, there were shivering cold times working in the pool and lots of other memorable, and maybe unadvisable, occasions. “But we survived,” Come said.
The stories and tributes continued well into the early evening hours. Each time a turtle was mentioned, the room broke into laughter. If you knew Myer, hopefully the mention will bring a giggle into your day also.
Drumm can be reached, by email, at firstname.lastname@example.org.