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David Mac Myers M.D.

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David Mac Myers M.D. Obituary
David Mac Myers, M.D. Surgeon, Medical Entrepreneur, Accomplished Pilot, Wit My name is Sue Ellen Hunter Myers and on May 27, 2014 my beloved husband, David Mac Myers, MD, a man for all seasons*, succumbed to pancreatic cancer at age 73. I was blessed to be at his bedside where he was surrounded by family and loved ones when he departed. Family and friends described him as a lovable curmudgeon filled with integrity, generosity, loyalty, intelligence and wit who left his footprints on the hearts of many. He didn't just leave his footprints on my heart, he was my heart. My husband grew up in Potterville, Michigan, a small town surrounded by dairy farms. David was the son of "Doc" and Bobby Myers of Potterville. He often said living in Potterville, (pop. 600) taught him to appreciate the simple life. Perhaps that's why he owned a Bentley, but preferred to drive a pickup. His childhood was filled with adventures-milking his first cow at age five, building award-winning model planes from scratch, getting a pilot's license, starting a home building business with his brother, Jim Myers, when he was 14, and learning to skydive at 20. David's love of flying came from his parents who were licensed pilots. Some of his earliest memories are of riding in the open cockpit of his mother's biplane. At the time of his death, David held most every advance rating a pilot could achieve, ultimately being certified in his high performance twin-engine jet. On my first date we flew to Block Island for a day at the beach, my own Lindbergh. David enrolled at the University of Michigan in 1958. There, he pursued the highly unusual dual majors of Art History and Biology, earning B.A. and B.S. degrees simultaneously. But, he wasn't all work and no play. During his sophomore year, David attended the University of Vienna to soak up the art, but admits he probably spent more time soaking up the wine. He loved art and it infused everything in his life, especially our home. He designed his own head stone which is placed in a prominent location at the St. Bernard's cemetery in Bernardsville. David was always resourceful, so when he needed spending money while at U-M, he taught his fellow students skydiving. Perhaps, he was a tad reckless, as well, never giving a thought to obtaining liability insurance for this endeavor. As for his own 600 dives, he said it wasn't scary unless your chute didn't open. You would have read this obituary much early had that occurred. David was exposed to the practice of medicine early as his father was the Potterville's only doctor and "Docs" office was next door to the house. So it was with that history that David entered the University of Michigan Medical School in 1965, graduating with distinction. David did his surgical residency at St. Vincent's Hospital in Greenwich Village where he did cirrhosis research. "The Village was full of drunks, so I had plenty of cirrhosis patients to practice on," he always told me. My husband learned much about the practice of medicine from his father, who was compassionate toward his patients, made house calls, and accepted chickens and vegetables from cash-strapped patients. David applied these traits to modern day Manhattan founding "Doctors on Call," a group of like-minded residents who made house calls to those without means or transportation. He often related to me how he carried his medical supplies in a backpack and his meager earnings in his socks as he traveled New York City's five boroughs in his beat up VW. During the Vietnam War, David served two years in the Navy assigned to the Naval Air Station in Brunswick, Maine and the hospital ship, Repose, as a general surgeon. He loved his experience in the Navy and was a true American patriot. After he was honorably discharged with the rank of Lt. Commander, David continued his residency at New York University-Bellevue Hospital. After completion of his orthopedic residency he set up a private practice in New Jersey. In 1979, the entrepreneurial bug again bit him and with two other doctors they launched one of the first Urgent Care Centers in New Jersey. David quickly grew this to 14 centers throughout the Northeast. After buying out his partners, David doubled-down on his commitment to delivering health care to the disadvantaged by purchasing a large personal injury/workers compensation practice located in New Jersey and then expanding it into Maryland. These multiple business interests became the HealthNet Corporation, which he ultimately sold to Coastal Heath Care, a New York Stock Exchange traded company. Harking back to his father's example, accessibility and affordability of heath care were of extreme importance to my husband. He added to his knowledge of heath care delivery as a member of the Health Policy Institute of Boston University. And, in recognition of his expertise, David served as a member of Boston University's Board of Trustees from 1989 to 2005. On the Board, David's background in finance was put to good use--by then he had a Master's Degree in finance from the Wharton School-- serving on the Executive Committee and as Chairman of the Audit Committee. We had many fond memories of his service on the Board and the lifelong friends we acquired. All four of his children graduated from BU with advanced degrees. In 2002, seeing the plight of the elderly poor who had no place to receive food and services, David started 'Second Home, LLC' which transported patients from their homes to his centers for food, medical care, exercise and social contact. Over time, Second Home grew to six adult day centers and enabled hundreds of people to avoid premature placement in nursing homes. My husband's philanthropy included endowment of the David M. Myers Distinguished Professor Of Physics Chair at BU. Dr. Lawrence Sulak, who was instrumental in the discovery of the Higgs Boson, presently holds this Professorship. But, his special passion was helping disadvantaged kids. Ashley Lyles and Nick Culbertson exemplify his success. David learned from a news article that they were living in a motel with their maternal grandmother. He set them up in a house, got Nick into a private school, and with his mentoring and financial assistance, the two ultimately graduated from Harvard and Davidson. As Nick wrote to David prior to his death, "I have seen an entirely new world, thanks to you and I am the person I am today because of it." Both of the kids remained involved with our lives. David was a keen outdoorsman. He skied throughout the U.S. and Europe with his family and enjoyed participating with his sons in sailing races around Block Island and Martha's Vineyard. He summered at Martha's Vineyard and often took his dogs to walk to the Edgartown lighthouse or to the beaches early in the morning. He particularly loved "Lily" his yellow lab, recently deceased, who will be interred with him. David often went to "Dipping Donuts" to get himself a nice cup of hot coffee and donuts for himself and the dogs. We truly loved Martha's Vineyard and felt very much at home there. Later in life, he was a golfer whose enthusiasm far exceeded his skill. Nevertheless, he especially cherished his time at the Greenbrier Golf Club with the Greenbrier Geezers: Peter Grimm, Don Norton, and Joe Goryeb. David's first marriage ended in divorce and in 1991 we were married. David always said that when he married me, he married the girl next door. I loved David's humor, but aware that his quick wit could some times sting, I would announce to new friends, "I am not responsible for anything he says." I am not alone in believing that my husband had the greatest sense of humor of anyone they ever knew. Our marriage was really very magical. There was almost nothing that we disagreed about but we relished many things that we were deeply attached to including: Martha's Vineyard, golfing, walks on the beach, skiing, walking with our beloved dogs, just sitting by the fireplace on cold mornings, and feeding the birds. Most significantly we had mutual family support and some absolutely delightful friends who greatly enriched our lives. He is survived by his twin sons Bradford and Gregory Myers of Ashland, MA and his two daughters, Holly Gauthier and Courtney Miglietta of Andover, MA and Norwood, NJ respectively. His brother and life mentor James W. Myers of Houston, also survives him. David's greatest regret facing his impending death was that he could not watch his grandchildren-David Mac Myers II, Giovanni, Alessandra, and Madison Miglietta and Carter and Logan Gauthier-grow up. We had always desired to grow old together but God had other plans. David treasured his in-laws and his multiple nieces and nephews gave him much joy and purpose. David truly admired his 98 year old mother in law, Helen Hunter, and spent many hours with her. Before his mother's passing, we all enjoyed many vacations and pranks David played on them. Once he opened the windows of their bedroom Vermont and pulled the curtains closed when it was 20 degrees below zero. Our mothers are still frozen from that joke. My husband was not afraid of death since he had a deep faith in his religion. David never said, "why me"? He looked forward to seeing old friends and family who had already passed away. David received Inc Magazine's prestigious Master Entrepreneur Award in 1991 for his outstanding contribution to health care delivery and was listed in the prestigious Connelly's Who's Who in American Medicine. His positions and accomplishments included the following: Trustee for the coalition for Homeless; Trustee for Legal Institute for Medical Education, Member, AMA, Member of New Jersey Orthopedic Society, Board Certified in Orthopedics, Member of Passaic County Medical Society, Member of AOPA, Former President of Flying Physician Club, Member Business Aviation Association, Member of Alpha Tau Omega, Fellow of American Board of Aviation Forensic Examiners, Member of National Association of Freestanding Ambulatory Centers, Member of University of Michigan Alumni Association, Member of American College of Group Practice Administrators, Director of American Association of Physicians Executives. Chairman and CEO of Health Net Corporation, President of Healthmed Corporation, Chesapeake Medical Associates, Urgent Care Associates, Family Medical Centers, Tri-State Therapy Centers, Clinical Instructor Orthopedics, NYU. Lt. Commander in the United States Navy, (ret). None of these positions, nor this obituary, can fully capture the life my husband lived to the fullest. Truly, the medically needy have lost an outstanding advocate with his passing. Visitation will be on Saturday, June 7th from 6:00-8:00pm and on Sunday, June 8th from 1:00-4:00pm at the Bailey Funeral Home, 8 Hilltop Road, Mendham, NJ. A memorial service will be held at The First Presbyterian Church Of Mendham (Hilltop Church), 20 Hilltop Road, Mendham, NJ on June 9th at 11:00 AM followed by a military funeral at St. Bernard's Cemetery in Bernardsville. Memorial donations may be made to the John Hopkins Sol Goldman Pancreatic Cancer Research Center located in Baltimore, MD, or the The Seeing Eye located in Morristown, NJ. * St. Thomas More: " A man of angel's wit and singular learning; I know not his fellow. For where is the man of that gentleness, lowliness, and affability? And as time requireth, a man of marvelous mirth and pastimes: and sometimes of as sad gravity: a man for all seasons."


Published in Lansing State Journal on June 4, 2014
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