A Remembrance of a Classmate
Last week when I read Mike Myer had passed away, I was sadden, knowing another member of the Magnolia’s Class of 1969 was no longer with us.
After graduation, it was not until a few years later, that I came to know Mike was working as a journalist. He contacted me and asked if I would give him some insight into a labor issue. In his calm deliberate tone of voice, he interviewed me for the first time. That was long ago, but I still remember our conversation while sitting on the steps of our union’s office. He asked direct questions and I gave him my opinion to why people had the right to organize. That was the first time I experienced Mike as a newspaper man.
Over the following years, we met a few more times. Those occasional meetings were direct and focused on the subject before us. I came to realize the young man from my class had taken his place in the world of professional journalism.
Mike’s editorial columns were written with straight forward views on his chosen subject. He clearly defined the issue before explaining why he was expressing his opinions. I believe his readers never had to look between the lines to understand his ideals.
Mike and I both attended vintage boating events in both New Martinsville and Wheeling. He, like myself was a lifelong fan of the sport. I was a bit surprised the first time I saw Mike at the local vintage event, he was wearing a blue racing suit. He explained that he had been given the opportunity to drive one of the boats that day. Later in the morning, he took his place in the seat of a vintage hydroplane. A short time later he took it for a run on the river. I’m betting all those years ago as he watched boats race behind his home in downtown New Martinsville, he may have never figured someday he would be driving one of those boats. But then again knowing Mike, he may have set a goal for himself to someday drive a hydroplane.
One more important thing I remember from my occasional meetings with Mike, he always spoke of his family. The first time I was in his office at the Intelligencer, he showed me a picture of his family. Then when we met at vintage events, he never failed to again speak of family.
Knowing Mike from a distance over our lifetimes made me realize he was proud of his career in journalism. The awards and accolades he received says the people he spoke to with his words, also acknowledged his life’s work in the news business. Outside his work, he enjoyed the thrill and adventure of speeding over the river in a vintage hydroplane. But with all that said, I believe from our occasional conversations, I would have to say, Mike was most proud of his family.
The last time I met Mike in his office, I posed a question to him, “What is the future of the printed news?” Without answering, he stood and stepped outside his office looking toward a large collection of desks, many of them were unused. While still looking towards the news room he explained that when he came into his job most of those desks were being used. Reporters and staff were coming and going working to get the next edition out. He turned and looked at me before indicating he was not sure what will happen in the future, but it will never be the same. Today, there is one more empty desk.
Mike Myer found his calling in the First Amendment of our Constitution. He spent his life telling readers in the Ohio Valley of the day’s events through his writings. He often wrote editorial columns speaking to those issues. His readers found truth in his opinions. Did everyone reading his words agree? Probably not. But, Mike’s columns gave everyone something to think about.
History will remember he told those stories straight as he understood each of them. The world of journalism in the Ohio Valley has lost a true voice of honesty and integrity that may not soon be replaced.