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Former Emmitsburg Mayor, Gene Myers, Leaves Legacy

Alison Walker
Originally published in the Frederick News Post on 4/5/2006

A funeral Mass will be held today for Edward Eugene Myers, 77, Emmitsburg's former mayor and active community member who died Friday.

In addition to serving as mayor from 1978 to 1989, Mr. Myers was a town commissioner from 1974 to 1978. He was also chief of Vigilant Hose Company in Emmitsburg.

"It's a loss for the whole town," said family friend Gerry Hewitt, of Emmitsburg.

Combining his political involvement in Emmitsburg and his devotion to fire service, Mr. Myers was instrumental in securing the National Fire Academy's placement in Emmitsburg at St. Joseph's College. The Federal Emergency Management Agency purchased the site in the late 1970s to serve as a training facility.

Randy Waesche, director of Carroll County's 911 Center and retired chief of Frederick County Emergency Communications, said he bought his first fire and police scanner from Mr. Myers years ago at his radio and television shop.

"Gene Myers was not only the face of the volunteer fire service, he was the passionate, protective and proud face of Emmitsburg itself," Mr. Waesche said.

Mr. Myers' funeral will be held at St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church in Emmitsburg, where he was in active member, at 11 a.m., followed by his burial at New St. Joseph's Cemetery in Emmitsburg.

Mr. Myers -- whose wife, Loretta, died in March 2002 -- is survived by five children: Pat Orner, Mike Myers and Steve Myers of Emmitsburg; Katy Rohrbaugh of Littlestown, Pa.; and Doug Myers of Frederick.

Mr. Myers is also survived by six grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

Mr. Myers was active in the Catholic community, as a member of St. Joseph's and of the Knights of Columbus Brute Council No. 1860 in Emmitsburg.

Anthony Topper, the council's financial secretary, said Mr. Myers participated in many of the Knights of Columbus events, particularly the council's annual community Easter egg hunt.

"He was a nice guy, well-respected -- a person you could count on," Mr. Topper said.

Mr. Myers, who joined the Knights of Columbus in 1948, was a council trustee for several years and served as a deputy grand knight in 2004, Mr. Topper said.

Elaine Ebaugh of Emmitsburg, parish secretary at St. Joseph's, said she had known Mr. Myers nearly all her life.

"Everyone knew Gene Myers," she said. "He was a very kind person, very gentle. Anyone that knew him, liked him."

Ms. Ebaugh said Mr. Myers was active in the church's Holy Name Society, which helps raise money for the community. She said he also participated in St. Joseph's breakfasts and the church's social gatherings.

The Archdiocese of Baltimore awarded Mr. Myers the Medal of Honor, given to individuals who demonstrate exceptional service to their parish, their community and the archdiocese.

Ms. Ebaugh said she'll also remember Mr. Myers as a loyal Baltimore Orioles baseball fan. He previously coached the Babe Ruth Baseball Senior Division and owned and managed his own softball team.

Before he died, "he asked one of his children, 'Is it opening day yet?'" Ms. Ebaugh said. "He didn't make it." Opening day was Monday.

Ms. Hewitt said, as a New York Yankees fan, she and Mr. Myers engaged in light-hearted ribbings about their rival teams. The last time the Yankees played in the World Series, she said, Mr. Myers sent her a bear dressed as a Yankee in a coffin.

Mr. Myers' family asked for memorial contributions, in lieu of flowers, in his name to the Vigilant Hose Co., St. Joseph's Church Renovation Fund or the Daughters of Charity Retirement Fund in Emmitsburg.