Richard G. Meyer, 68, died unexpectedly but peacefully in his sleep on October 25, 2013 at his home in Williamsburg, VA. A celebration of his life will take place at St. Martin's Episcopal Church, 1333 Jamestown Road, Williamsburg, at 2pm Friday, November 1, 2013.
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Born to Marvin and Alice Meyer, he grew up in Caldwell, NJ, where he was active in scouting, the First Presbyterian Church of Caldwell, and paper route jobs. Richard graduated from James Caldwell High School, attended Montana State University, and finished later at Newark College of Engineering with a degree in mechanical engineering. He interrupted his studies by enlisting in the Air Force during the Vietnam War and was given specialized training in the Russian language in order to intercept and interpret communications to and from Russia. He was stationed in Turkey during his tour of duty. In 1970 he married Ann Elizabeth Stock, whom he met in 1963 when her family moved in next door and the rest is history. His 28 year career as a naval architect-marine engineer at M. Rosenblatt & Son, Inc. began in New York City, and then in 1980 he took advantage of a transfer opportunity and moved his family to Williamsburg, VA--a dream location for the family.
Richard's life was anything but ordinary. For example, in 1959 (before cell phones, GPS or 10-speed bikes) Richard, 14, and his brother Jimmy, 15, rode their 3-speeds from NJ to Montana to visit grandparents. This trip had no support vehicles, prepared meals, or nice hotel rooms but rather a pup tent, paper fold up maps, money earned on paper routes, and a letter from their parents stating that they were not running away. They set off on a 2100 mile trek with instructions to send a postcard everyday and to call home every Sunday. Although it wasn't an easy trip, the incredible experiences they had and memories they made lasted them a lifetime. After twenty-one days and lots of courage and perseverance, they arrived safely at their Grandparents home in Jordan, Montana. Richard always looked forward to visiting all of his Montana relatives no matter what it took to get there.
The same courage and perseverance was demonstrated over and over by Richard, especially when he was diagnosed at the age of 33 with Multiple Sclerosis. Although he had a lifetime of constant adjustment due to MS, he remained kind, gentle and concerned about everyone but himself. The way he handled his illness with grace was an inspiration to many. Rather than allowing the illness to make decisions for him, Richard would amend his routine. For example, he would just get up earlier when it took him increasingly more time to get ready for work. Richard lived out his great faith as a humble, selfless man, who gave to others and asked for nothing.
Richard's greatest accomplishments were in the person he was and the family he and Ann created. His grown children still remember and repeat to their children the time he returned from work and went directly to the phone to call a bank teller with whom he had just had a transaction. He explained to the teller that she had given him one dollar more than he asked for and wanted her to know that he would return it immediately. After the call, his children said, "It's only a dollar, Dad" to which Richard replied "It's not my dollar, and the teller will have to replace it with her own money. It would be stealing for me not to return it." His values were delivered to his children by example which was how he lived his life.
Richard is survived by his wife of 43 years, Ann Stock Meyer, two daughters, Suzannah Zachos and her husband Nick of Columbia, MD; Katy Hulse and her husband Rodney of Stuarts Draft, VA; and a son, Andrew of Williamsburg, VA. His seven grandchildren, Anastasia, Zoe and Katheryn Zachos, Jacob, Clair, and Grayson Hulse, and Aiden Meyer adored Richard as much as he adored them. He is also survived by his brother, Robert Meyer of West Palm Beach, FL; his sister, Pat Knapp and her husband Rich of Randolph, NJ; his sister-in-law Beth Meyer of Phoenix, AZ and Bozeman, MT; his sister-in-law Susan Stock of Shelburne, VT and his father-in-law, Ed Stock of Williamsburg, VA. A host of nieces, nephews, aunts, uncles, cousins and dear friends also survive Richard and will always cherish fond memories of him.
Richard was predeceased by his parents, Marvin and Alice Meyer; his brother, James "Jimmy" Marvin Meyer; and his mother-in-law Betty Stock.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made in honor of Richard's life to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society at the following address http://tinyurl.com/me8mtw5.
Published in Virginia Gazette from Oct. 30 to Nov. 29, 2013