Dr. COL (retired) Lawrence “Larry” Myers, Jr.
Born October 21, 1921 and raised in Hartford City, Indiana. Lawrence – always Larry to his friends – excelled in his studies and extracurricular activities, which included track and playing first single for his high school tennis team.
After graduating from high school, he attended Purdue University and majored in Chemical Engineering. He soon discovered his true calling was announcing at the school’s sporting events. He carried this passion into his later life when he announced for the Syracuse Nationals basketball team, later to be known as the Philadelphia 76ers. Radio broadcasting was his first love professionally. While still at Purdue, he auditioned and won the lead in a summer stock production of “Jim Dandy.” A vivacious coed from rival Indiana University, Betty Jane Mowry, won the role of leading lady. She later turned out to be his real-life leading lady. They were engaged Christmas Day in 1942 and were married on October 19, 1943.
Commissioned in 1942 as a field artillery officer after graduating from Purdue’s ROTC program, he joined the Army and served for the duration of World War II. He was assigned to the 590th and 591st Field Artillery Battalions for the 106th Infantry Division. Lawrence fought during the Battle of the Bulge, The Rhineland Offensive, and the Northern Apennines, Italy. Myers returned to military service in 1950, when he joined the 403rd Civil Affairs Company as a member of the reserve corps. In 1957, he was promoted to major in the division. From 1968 to 1975, Larry was commanding officer with the 425th Military Intelligence Detachment. At the time of his retirement in 1975, he was a colonel and awarded the Legion of Merit medal. He and others of “The Greatest Generation” were recognized on the Honor Flight 10 that took them to Washington, D.C. in 2017.
After the war, Larry came to Syracuse where he focused the rest of his academic life on communications – with a strong interest in the science of broadcasting, the power of words and the television medium to influence audiences. Larry received his master’s degree in speech and his PhD in applied statistics from Syracuse University in 1949 and 1956 respectively.
While pursuing his degrees, he was the manager of WAER (1948-1951 and 1954-1957). His teaching career began as a graduate assistant in the Television-Radio Department, progressed to instructor, and eventually a full professor of broadcasting. In 1963, he became chair of the Television, Radio & Film Department, a position he held for 27 years. He also served as the interim dean of the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications from 1989 to 1990.
He retired from Syracuse University in 1992 and was granted the title of professor emeritus. In 1993, he returned as an adjunct professor for the Division of International Programs Abroad (DIPA). He retired again in 2000 after teaching another ten semesters abroad.
Always a staunch supporter of Syracuse sports and the Orange Pack, he was a perennial season ticket holder for both football and basketball from 1947 to 2022. Dr. Myers took special pride in having taught such luminaries as Dick Clark, Ted Koppel, Bob Costas, Dick Stockton, Len Berman, Marv Albert, Mike Tirico, Sean McDonough, and many others renowned in their fields. In 2019, Lawrence was the first professor to be inducted into the WAER Hall of Fame. That same year, he was celebrated at the S.U. Homecoming Football game as the military “Home Town Hero.”
Larry had associations with many philanthropic organizations in the Syracuse area. He served as the President of the Board of Trustees at University United Methodist Church, along with serving on the Boards of Housing Vision and the Interreligious Council.
He and his wife Betty Jane subscribed regularly to cultural offerings – Syracuse Stage, Syracuse Symphony and The Friends of Chamber Music. In their many travels, they never missed an opportunity to visit a museum, walk or city park. They continued their educational pursuits by attending many Elder Hostel trips to various destinations. Larry also loved his annual Canadian fishing trip with his brother and brother-in-law which he continued to do until he was 95.
He and Betty Jane enjoyed their family trips to the Adirondacks and Florida. They spent many summers at their family cottage in Quebec, Canada. For many years, he would fish and have a supply of rainbow trout in the freezer for remembrances of summer in the middle of February.
Dr. Myers celebrated 100 years of life on October 21, 2021 with family and friends in Syracuse. Celebrations included numerous recognitions, awards from local and national organizations, and a parade. He always wished for “peace on earth” and added value to anyone who crossed his path. His smile, smarts and stories will be remembered and cherished. Larry passed peacefully in his sleep on January 27, 2022.
Larry was pre-deceased by his parents, Grace Ham Myers and Lawrence Myers, Sr., his sister Rethel Grace Carbon and his brother, William Malcolm “Mac” Myers. He is survived by his three children, Carol (Tom) Nigolian, Craig Myers, Claire (Tim) Myers-Usiatynski, four grandchildren, Jeffrey Kelleher, Nicholas (Adele) Kelleher, Nathaniel Kelleher, and Pamela (Adam) Pollack, and two great-grandchildren, Harry Kelleher, and Lucy Kelleher.
Larry’s family would like to acknowledge the caring staff at The Oaks along with Peace at Homecare. These staff members provided him with love, companionship, respect and thought of him as their “Adopted Grandfather.” Also, a special thank you to his physical therapist, Karen Smith, who made certain that he kept moving forward every day.
A gravesite military service at Oakwood Cemetery and “Celebration of his Life” will be held in the spring of 2022.
Contributions may be made to the “Forever Orange” campaign at Syracuse Univesity, University United Methodist Church or a charity of your choice.