MYERS--Charles Twiggs, legendary history teacher and coach at Berkshire School in Sheffield, Mass., died June 14 at the age of 83. Insatiably curious, Twiggs had interests ranging from clocks to railroad trains, from trees and flowers to anything written by May Sarton and Walter Pritchard Eaton, from the Philadelphia Phillies to the back roads of the Adirondacks, where he spent his summers at the Crater Club in Essex, N.Y. Twiggs Myers was born on August 2, 1930, in Bryn Mawr, PA, the youngest of three children of Charles Myers, a Philadelphia attorney, and the former Gertrude James Hearne. He was the namesake of his great-great grandfather, David Emmanuel Twiggs, a hero of the Mexican War who later became the oldest Confederate general in the Civil War. As a child, Twiggs raised homing pigeons kept in a loft attached to the family garage and was a member of the International Federation of American Homing Pigeon Fanciers. (Years later, Twiggs would raise chickens at his home in Sheffield, which he called Laywell Farm.) Twiggs attended the private Haverford School. In 1952, he graduated from Princeton University with a degree in history. Among his classmates were tailback Dick Kazmaier, the last Ivy Leaguer to win the Heisman Trophy, and former Treasury Secretary and Secretary of State James A. Baker. After a year at Harvard Law School, Twiggs was hired by Berkshire School, then an all-boys school with 150 students. Twiggs Myers was among the last of a breed: the bachelor schoolmaster whose institution is his love and whose students are his children. With a passion for the Civil War and a reverence for Lee and Lincoln, he taught history from 1953 to 1995, when he was named the school's Senior Master Emeritus. He coached track and field his entire career and, in 1966, founded the school's cross country running program, whose teams racked up 200 victories while he was coach. Twiggs was an inveterate storyteller with a quick, often irreverent, wit. Among the staples in his repertoire was Adlai Stevenson's quip, "I find Norman Vincent Peale appalling and St. Paul appealing." Every August, as he reluctantly left his camp on Lake Champlain for the classroom, Twiggs would pronounce, "The curtain of seriousness is descending." In addition to countless former students, survivors include sister Eliza Miller; nieces Diane Hulburt, Katje McIntyre, Wendy Miller, and Susan Curtin; nephews Hunter Ten Broeck and Mark Miller; 12 grand-nephews and nieces; and five great-grandnephews and nieces. A memorial service for Twiggs Myers will be held on July 12 at 11 am at Christ Church in Sheffield. Gifts in his memory may be made to Berkshire School or to the Sheffield Land Trust in care of Birches Roy Funeral Home, 33 South Street, Great Barrington, MA 01230.
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Published in The New York Times on June 22, 2014
Birches-Roy Funeral Home
33 South St Great Barrington, MA 01230