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Korean War veteran cherished little things in life

| Sunday, May 27, 2001, 12:00 p.m.

The Korean War taught Albert Myers to appreciate the little things in life. And he passed those lessons on to his son.

'When I left water running for no reason he told me about the war,' Frank Myers recalled Sunday. 'He said he had to drink water from a rice paddy because there was nothing else to drink. That stuck with me.'

Albert 'Skip' Myers, a longtime West Deer Township resident, died Thursday, May 24, 2001, at UPMC Passavant, McCandless, of heart failure after collapsing at work. He was 70.

Mr. Myers was the son of Albert and Margaret McCully Myers. He joined the Army and served his country in the Korean War.

'He only really had two war stories I remember from my childhood,' said his son, Frank, 44, of West Deer. 'One was kind of funny.

'He was a little bit of a wild character as a young man and he told me about how they used to hunt jackrabbits in Korea with their tanks. Well, one time he destroyed a tank while they were doing this. He crashed it into another tank hunting rabbits. I guess they hid it pretty well, because he was honorably discharged after the war.'

When his son was 12, Mr. Myers divorced and worked several jobs before finding employment at the former Pittsburgh Metals Purifying Co. in Saxonburg, Butler County. He worked 15 years as a general laborer at the plant, which made 'hot tops,' or forms for pouring molten steel, for the steel industry.

Mr. Myers then went to work as a custodian at Richland Elementary School. His appreciation for the small things in life continued there, where he took time to remember the birthdays of all the teachers and staff, placing gifts in their desks and walking through the building on weekends to make sure nothing was out of order.

One day a pupil lost a tooth down a bathroom drain and Mr. Myers went to the trouble of disassembling the plumbing to retrieve it, Frank Myers recalled.

When he wasn't working, Mr. Myers enjoyed being outdoors, whether it was on his father's farm in West Deer or at the family hunting camp in Indiana County.

After the family decided to lease out the farm, Mr. Myers kept a large vegetable garden at his home.

'He grew zucchini and pumpkin and some special tomatoes and gave them all away to friends and family,' Frank Myers said. 'He even brought them to my ex-wife after we separated.'

He also made it a point to visit his aunt and other relatives every other Saturday, always with either a pizza or hoagie in hand, Frank Myers said.

Mr. Myers was a former member of the West View Sportsman Club, the Mars Rod and Gun Club and the Bakerstown American Legion.

And although his father didn't tell lavish stories of his time in the Army, Frank Myers said his father was proud to be a veteran.

'When this happened Thursday, I knew this weekend was Memorial Day, and I thought it would be a problem to make arrangements,' Frank Myers said. 'But now I realize it is fitting, very suitable, that he will be remembered on this day.'

In addition to his son, Mr. Myers is survived by a sister, Mary Kozik of West Deer; a brother, Charles R. Myers of Shaler Township; and a niece, Pat Bindernagle of Shaler.

Visitation will be from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. today at Schellhaas Funeral Home, 5864 Heckert Road, West Deer. Funeral services will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday at Deer Creek Presbyterian Church in West Deer. The Rev. Raselyn Johnson will officiate. Burial will follow in Lakewood Memorial Gardens, Cheswick.

Memorial contributions may be made to Deer Creek United Presbyterian Church, 33 Bairdford Road, Gibsonia, PA 15044.

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