MURPHYSBORO — James Hartwell Myers passed away Friday, Feb. 21, 2020, at the age of 72 in Long Beach, California.
He was born July 22, 1947, and was the adopted son of Grace (Wemlinger) and Fredrick Myers, both of Cook County.
If you asked a hundred people who Jim Myers was, they'd all give you a different story. A businessman, a carpenter, veteran, father, husband, dancer, charmer, lover, a fighter, and a damn fine one if you asked him. A car waxer extraordinaire! A man who loved nature and fishing, exploration and travel, city night life, and Caribbean relaxation. In short, Jim was a little bit of everything. He could navigate any situation, and freely shared advice to others on how to do the same to all who asked.
He joined the U.S. Army in California in 1966. He was a troubled teen and freely shared his story about how he enlisted, stating that the judge told him he had two options: go to jail or join the military. He was proud to admit that military life changed his direction and formed the foundation of the man he became. He trained in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, then traveled to Germany where he was primarily stationed at Panzer Kaserne, Böblingen. He often reminisced about his years in Germany, the 7th Army Support Command, and his close friends, Dennis De St. Jeor and Julius Lindberg.
On Sept. 27, 1967, he attended the 19th birthday party of a woman he had never met. Her name was Çam (Cynthia) Lea West. By Dec. 21 of the same year, he married Çam.
They returned to the U.S. in 1968 and not long afterwards Jim began as a janitor at General Motors. His analytical mind, work ethic, and no-nonsense leadership style quickly launched him up the corporate ladder as he was the fastest employee to excel to the position of plant manager. During this chapter of his life, he met another lifelong friend, and later business partner, Larry Fehmel.
In August of 1973, they welcomed the birth of their first daughter, Alexandria, and in September of 1981, the birth of their second daughter, Bethany.
After Jim retired from GM, he became an entrepreneur and business owner in Southern Illinois, playing part in many ventures across the region. During this time he became an avid international traveler, taking many trips, most notably with his daughters, to Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Jamaica, the U.S. Virgin Islands, the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and countless other Caribbean destinations. He loved Caribbean life, seafaring, fishing and the slow pace of life he observed in these places. His travels eventually led him back to California and Hawaii where he lived with his partner, Dr. Donna Stapp.
Jim was preceded in death by his adopted father, Fredrick Myers; adopted mother, Grace Wemlinger-Myers; biological mother, Isabelle Daskiewicz-Kus; biological brother, Paul Kus; and wife, Çam West-Myers.
He is survived by his partner, Dr. Donna Stapp; adopted sister, Gretchen Myers-Mulder; daughters, Alexandria Myers and Bethany Myers-Beyyette; sons-in-law, Brad Preiss and Mustafa Beyyette; surrogate son, Jason Buehner; and four beautiful grandchildren, Malcolm Beyyette (9), Willow Preiss (8), Mandela Beyyette (6), and Desmond Beyyette (4).
Jim despised funerals and mourning, and as such the family is presenting a true celebration of his life on Saturday, July 25, at 133 Stave Mill Road in Murphysboro. All who knew Jim are welcome to attend and encouraged to bring their own beverages and chairs. This will not be a solemn event. Casual dress is requested. Military honors will begin at noon and music and dancing will commence thereafter. Please join us as we celebrate one of the most wonderful men many of us have ever known.
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