Final in a six-part series
After the death of F.E. Myers in December 1923, P.A. Myers began spending most of his time in New York City. He had turned much of the day-to-day operations of the pump and farm implement business over to his only son, Guy, and nephew, John.
At age 75 in the spring of 1928, P.A. Myers surprised everyone by marrying a woman less than half his age. Josephine Forsyth was a young woman from Cleveland who was pursuing a singing career in New York.
In 1929, they welcomed a baby they named Phyllis Arlene, who was christened with water her father brought from the Jordan River. An undated photo shows P.A. with this young daughter in front of a wagon built by George Myers and John Studebaker.
New leader. John C. Myers found himself stepping into the leadership role of the company his father had founded. Just like his father before him, John had a keen interest in improving the community.
He was one of the founding directors of the Ashland hospital, giving to the nurses’ training program, which had benefited from his mother’s gifts to provide a nurses’ home.
Along with his brother-in-law, T.W. Miller, and cousin, Guy Myers, the Ashland Country Club was formed and land was donated to the city for a park.
T. W. Miller’s Ashland company produced the solid rubber core of a golf ball, and brother-in-law, Fred Parker, of New England was consulted about constructing a line of golf clubs using the same wood Parker’s company was using for buggy whips.
Sorrow. With success comes worries, such as a threatened kidnapping of one of the Miller children, and accomplishments and wealth does not help a family to avoid great sorrow.
The death of P.A. Myers in 1932 at age 79 after a car accident, was just the first of many sorrows for that year.
John C. Myers had been caring for his wife since she fell ill in the summer of 1930. Her illness caused her to miss the wedding of their oldest child, Marge, to Curtiss Ginn, Jr. in 1931. When she died in 1932, John was left to raise their three teen-aged sons, Fran, John Jr. and Everett.
John Myers encouraged his family to have fun, enhanced their lives with music and art and appeared to be the master of creative discipline with his children when they stepped out of line.
In Living the American Dream by Howard E. Covington, Jr., it is written, “Once, when he discovered his son Fran had not told him the truth about an incident at a friend’s house, he required his son to gather his friends in the backyard of the Myers home and witness a ritual burying of his ‘last lie.'”
Compounded sadness. P.A.’s only son, Guy, had married Katherine Moore Myers; they had three children. Their daughter Miriam, 21, was involved in a car accident while vacationing at the family’s summer home at Mullet Lake, Mich.
Uninjured, she stepped from the car and touched a live electric wire and was electrocuted. The loss of his father, closely followed by this tragic loss, was more than Guy Myers could bear.
In 1934, Guy Myers, 53, took his own life. His widow would bear the sorrow of burying their only son, Philip, 22, who was killed in a car accident in 1938, the same year Helen Myers Miller’s son Frank, 24, died in an airplane accident.
Kate, 77, a kind woman who had survived much sorrow, died in 1957 in an automobile accident, leaving one daughter, Elizabeth Myers Mitchell.
The children and grandchildren of F. E. Myers continued to oversee the successful family business. With the death of John C. Myers in 1952, his son-in-law became president and oversaw the 1960 sale of the F. E. Myers Company to McNeil Machine and Engineering Company.
The many contributions of the Myers family to their community remain evident in nearly every corner of Ashland to this day. For a young man who never wanted to leave the family farm but was urged to “make his own way” by his mother, F. E. Myers certainly did that and so much more.
John C. Myers III, now living with wife Joy in Florida, oversaw the publishing of the family story, an admirable accomplishment.
On a personal note, F.E. Myers’s great-great grandson, Rett Myers, is a classmate of my son’s, and we have enjoyed cheering the two boys on in many Little League baseball games over the years.