Gary R. Myers, 76, died Saturday after a life well-lived.
Born in Lancaster to Arthur and Emma Myers, Gary spent his younger years learning how to perfect his thick mustache and sneak a smoke behind the school building for a short time in Detroit. Soon after his return, he won over Lillian Yunginger, who would go on to be his wife for 54 years. With his dashing good looks and incredible charm, he managed to find a permanent place in her heart.
Their love spanned a lifetime, bringing them two beautiful daughters and countless Doberman Pinchers that came to haunt paperboys and passersby, much to Gary’s delight. He regaled the tales over coffee, donuts and cigarettes at Myers’s Service Center, where he worked until weeks before his death. Locals knew the service station as the source of town gossip, where even the police gleaned the latest story. The true challenge, as it would remain, was being able to tell the truth from Gary’s tall tales.
Gary demanded the best in life — from Cadillacs to cigarettes — and always sought to bring a smile to those around him. The man went through more bottles of hairspray in a year than some women touch in a lifetime, and after quitting a decades-long habit of smoking Pall Malls, became a walking sales ad for wintergreen Lifesavers. Rumor has it, Gary long considered becoming a spokesman for Tastykake, too, but liked to keep his sugary options open.
Gary was a born rule-breaker, but always with the best intentions. He crashed weddings, talked his way out of speeding tickets and knew the art of friendship more than most in this world. His love for ambulance chasing and excitement gave those around him a sense of adventure. Never was there a dull moment spent with Gary, even in his final days. Though his memory became foggy, his storytelling skills only improved in grandeur, promising his nurses a seat on his airplane when he finally broke out of the hospital.
But nothing quite put a smile on Gary’s face like his time spent on the water — the wind in his hair, a cigarette in his mouth and bare feet on the boat deck. Salt water and a little sand only improved life, if you asked Gary, and he made sure to engrain a love for the beach in everyone he knew. From fighting prize-winning white marlin on the Capt. Ike to teaching his grandchildren how to clean crabs, the ocean will forever be a part of Gary, as he was a part of it.
His family will miss his stocking the freezer with buy-1-get-1 deals on ice cream, his hearty renditions of “Under the Boardwalk” and the sound of his laugh. They will miss hearing “If you can’t run with the big dogs, stay on the porch” and all of the other coined phrases only he could get away with saying. But most of all, they will miss the man who made the lives of everyone he knew richer and more full of life than ever imaginable. Thank you for the stories, Pop Pop, and thank you for all your love, Dad. Gary, you will forever be missed, but always be deep within our hearts.
He is survived by his wife, Lillian; as well as his two daughters, Lisa and her husband, Gerry Horn, and their children, Brittany and Jared; and Wendy and her husband, David Barber, as well as their children, Gaige and Chase.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Penn Medicine’s Alzheimer’s Research, University of Pennsylvania, Gifts Accounting & Administration, 2929 Walnut Street, Suite 300, Philadelphia, PA 19104-5099 in Gary’s name, and that you share a story with someone you love in his honor. Make it grand and a bit farfetched, just like him. Life’s too short to be forgotten.
There will be a viewing on Wednesday, March 15, 2017 from 6 until 8 PM in the Bachman Funeral Home, 7 South Decatur Street, Strasburg, PA and again on Thursday, March 16, 2017 from 10 until 11 AM in The First Presbyterian Church of Strasburg, 101 South Decatur Street, Strasburg, PA with the funeral at 11 AM. Pastor Bob Bronkema will be officiating. Interment in Strasburg Mennonite Cemetery will follow.