James Meyers, presente!

Many of you may have heard about the passing of Pete’s dad James Meyers. I thought you might like to read about his impressive life. The following is the obituary that the family submitted to the Ithaca Journal.

ITHACA – Civil rights activist, dancer of Universal Peace, librarian, free thinker, writer, actor, lover, nudist, and free spirit, James Raymond Meyers lived outside the box and emboldened others around him to do the same.
James Raymond Meyers died peacefully on April 15 at Hospicare, after living at McGraw House in Ithaca.
James was born August 9, 1936 in Detroit, Michigan, the second of three boys (between Carl and Ron) to Carl and Loretta Meyers. Not more than two years after James’ birth, the family moved to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Carl worked in the steel mills of Pittsburgh, as well as laying brick for the tunnel. Loretta held down the fort and raised the boys.
James attended St. Basil’s Catholic School for 12 years and initially wanted to become a priest. In 1954, James decided to attend college at Columbia University in NYC where he met his wife, Francis Joan Gillen.
Getting out of dodge (NYC), Joan dragged James to her hometown of South Bend, Indiana where son Pete was born. Twenty months later, James and Joan bore a second child, David Adam. James worked for many years as the film librarian at the South Bend Public Library as he devoted his passions and extra time to helping to end the Vietnam War as well as taking part in the countercultural ’60s revolution.
In the words of lifetime friend, Dale Gibson, “Jim began conducting a seminar at the library entitled ‘World Peace Through World Law’ in the mid-60’s. I can assure you, not many people were considering such lofty ideas in the 1960’s in a small city in northern Indiana. We all had a text, and took the discussions quite seriously. This group would get together nearly every weekend and listen to the Beatles, dance, and generally enjoy the freedom that characterized the sixties.” James and Joan developed a tight group of friends that lasted a lifetime.
In 1976, James and his wife Joan decided to separate as James had realized that he was gay. This took a lot of courage in the Midwest at that time, and henceforth this orientation became an important part of his life. In 1996, James retired and moved to Albuquerque, NM, where he lived until 2005 when he moved to Ithaca to be near Joan and Pete as his health began to fail.
James’ passions in life included spiritual pursuits such as Dances of Universal Peace, reincarnation, the Unity Church, meditation, yoga, music, prayer, television, Transactional Analysis, astrology, Co-Counseling, and generally being with people. The family is deeply appreciative of his medical practitioners, dialysis nurses, and hospice caregivers.
James leaves behind son, Pete and partner Mary Loehr, both of Ithaca; son, David of Chicago; grandson, Gabe Stewart-Guido of New Orleans; and many dear friends around the country. May your spirit fly freely, Mister!
Published in Ithaca Journal from April 16 to April 19, 2010

James is buried at Greensprings Natural Cemetery, Newfield.
Best wishes to his family and friends.