Jonathan Dickerson Myers passed from this earthly existence to life eternal on March 19‚ 2012. Tall‚ soft spoken‚ and kind‚ he was known as ‘the Gentle Giant.’ He was a quiet hero among heroes who never expected praise for the countless good deeds he performed.
Raised in Paoli‚ Pennsylvania‚ Johnny attended Syracuse‚ Villanova‚ and Old Dominion Universities. He served for nine years in the U. S. Navy as a radioman‚ supporting Seal Team activities aboard the U.S.S. Nashville.
Johnny enjoyed kayak-fishing with his wife‚ Nancy‚ paddle boarding‚ biking‚ and relaxing on his deck overlooking the Chesapeake Bay. An award winning softball and golf player‚ he dedicated his time and talents to tournaments that raised money for great causes. As a member of IAFF Local 68‚ he was dedicated to the Muscular Dystrophy Association and participated in ‘Fill the Boot’ and the annual softball tournament in Maryland. On off-duty days‚ Johnny assisted Nancy with operating her family’s Printer’s Supply Company Incorporated. He did yard work and maintenance of the business and his parents-in-law’s home.
Johnny was assigned to Ladder 13 in the Ocean View area of Norfolk‚ as the aerial driver operator. A team player‚ he mentored new members on the operation of Ladder 13 and the fire-rescue boat‚ The Vulcan‚ and remained physically fit by working out with other station members. He loved the community interactions at the local dog park next to Station 13 and could be found during his shift conversing with the neighbors and their furry friends.
On March 19‚ 2012‚ Johnny reported to duty ready to work. He checked off his apparatus and placed the aerial up for a physical training exercise. All members climbed the aerial ladder in turnout gear with a tank. Shortly after his climb‚ Johnny did not feel well and went inside to cool off. He collapsed in the bunkroom and was found by station members who promptly started working on him. Despite their advanced skills and best efforts‚ Johnny did not survive.
Johnny was loving and supportive of his best friend and wife‚ Nancy. He was‚ in the words of his daughter‚ Melissa Rose Myers‚ ‘a fun dad who would get on the floor and play with us‚ and always bought the best Christmas and birthday presents.’ His legacy lives on through his son‚ Benjamin Haldeman Myers‚ who wishes to become a firefighter for Norfolk Fire Rescue. He was a caring grandfather; a loving son to William Heyward Myers III and Jean Halderman Longnecker Myers Grady; stepson to Alan H. Grady; a wonderful brother to Emily‚ Sarah‚ and Heyward Myers; and ‘Uncle Johnny’ to many nieces and nephews. He is greatly missed by his fire family. His gentle smile‚ big heart‚ and compassion to help others will always be remembered.