GERALD VIRGIL MYERS, 94
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LAKELAND - Gerald Virgil Myers, 94, made his journey to Heaven March 10, 2013, due to natural causes, to live in the light of the Heavenly Father and enjoy a reunion with the love of his life, his late wife of 70 years, Emma "Bobbie" Tracy Myers.
Gerald Virgil was born on July 6, 1918 near Forrest City, MO, to William Edgar Myers and Sylvia Gertrude "Adkins" Myers. He grew up in Andrew County then went to Lafayette High School for 2 years when the family moved to St. Joseph. He finished the last 2 years of High school at Oak Grove, where he set school records as a basketball star and set a county record in The High Hurdles.
He married Emma "Bobbie" Tracy, April 14, 1939 in the St. Patricks Church, St. Joseph, MO.
He joined the Army in May, 1944. After 14 weeks of basic infantry training at Ft. Hood, TX, he was then shipped overseas to the European Theater, landing at Omaha Beach. He was then assigned to the 80th Infantry Division. In the next 45 days, due to heavy casualties, he was selected to become Squad header of a Mortar Section and promoted to the rank of sergeant fighting in the Battle of the Bulge. He was 1 of 3 American G.I.s that found the Buchenwald Concentration camp by entering the west gate of the camp; 26,000 inmates were in the camp when it was located.
He returned home in Jan. of 1946 as 1st Sergeant of the Co. he was assigned to the entire time he was in combat overseas.
Medals and citations received by Sgt. Myers for his services in WWII and the years following included: The Silver Star medal, The Bronze Star medal with Valor, the Purple Heart medal, the Infantry Combat Badge medal, the Good Conduct medal, the Victory Medal WWII, received the Medal of Honor from Luxenbourg Gov't, the Legion of Honor Medal Designated Chivaler for the Medal, the Mairie Medal by French Gov't, was declared an Honorary Citzen of Luxenbourg in 2004, and an Honorary Citzen of France in 2005.
He is still being honored by the city of Lakeland with both his picture in 1944 and now was placed on the sides of a city bus honoring WWII Veterans in Polk County. In May, 2002, he received a certificate and plaque from the Commanding General of the 80th Inf. Reserve, declaring him an honorary Colonel in the 80th Inf. Div.
After his discharge from the Army, he returned to work at Quaker Oats Co., St. Joseph. He attended night school and graduated from the Johnson Business College. He was a salesman in the feed division of Quaker Oats with a district in Central Kansas. He spent his last 23 years as the General Regional Sales Manager at the St. Louis sales office.
When he retired, he and Bobbie moved to Lakeland, Fl. He served for over 15 years as President of Central Florida Veterans of the Battle of the Bulge and as Commander of Florida Chapter of 80th Division Veterans Association, Life Purple Heart member, and a member of the Polk Co. Veterans Association.
He loved being with family and friends. He and his wife, Bobbie, both loved golf and extensive international travel. They traveled to every European country. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father, and grandpa, and a great friend to many.
He is survived by his two children, Ronna Jean Myers Hayward and husband, Robert, Gary Lee Myers and wife, Sheryl, 6 grandchildren, 17 great grandchildren, and 20 great great grandchildren.
The family will receive friends on Wednesday March 13, 2013 from 5-7 pm at Heath Funeral Chapel and funeral services will be held on Thursday March 14, 2013 at 11:00 am at the Church of the Resurrection. Interment will follow at Lakeland Memorial Gardens.
Memorials may be made to Honor Flight of West Central Florida, P.O. Box 55661. St. Petersburg, Florida 33732.
Condolences may be sent to the family at www.heathfuneralchapel.com .
Heath Funeral Chapel
328 South Ingraham Avenue
Lakeland, FL 33801
Published in Ledger from Mar. 13 to Mar. 14, 2013