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Jimmy Myers (better known by some as James Patrick Michael Francis Alouicious Augustus Amonica Top Murrary Myers), passed unexpectedly in his sleep of natural causes on May, 21, 2023. His death shortly followed that of the beloved family dog, “Julie Andrews” Myers. Jim was a force of great conviction and creativity. He offered humorous provocations in plenty, and enjoyed a mirthful perspective of unwavering curiosity, imagination, and appreciation for human expression through music, dance, language, art and architecture. Jim had a neuroblastoma as an infant; he faced a myriad of subsequent health problems throughout his life consequence of childhood cancer. Nonetheless, he lived unabashedly, and told his daughter Grace that the best medicine for pain is to make everyone around you laugh - a purpose he wielded to the benefit of his loved ones.
Jim graduated from Owego Free Academy in 1981. He earned the rank of Eagle Scout that same year, and first fell in love with architecture when earning the aptly named badge. He then took a drafting class in high school, and pursued both a Bachelor’s (1985) and Master’s (1990) in Architecture at the School of Architecture at the University at Buffalo. Jim’s career took him across New York State, working for firms in Binghamton, Albany, Westchester, and Rochester, and independently through Myers Studio. He was a licensed member of the American Institute of Architects, LEED certified, and won multiple awards of excellence for his designs from the Rochester Chapter of the AIA, Build New York, the Arts & Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, and the Construction Specification Institute. Some of his favorite projects included the Restoration of the Smith Opera House in Geneva (1998), the 1995 Loggia addition at Locust Hill Country Club, the foremost design for Tom Wahl’s that has been replicated throughout the region, the Clock Tower at Roberts Wesleyan, regional spaces for Garber Automotive Group, high schools and community centers throughout New York and New Jersey, the playground at St. John Neumann School where his daughter was a student, and designs for his own home and those of his family and friends.
Jim’s passion as a draftsman, illustrator, and designer permeated many aspects of his life. He illustrated comics and portraits, and imbued his care in drawings gifted to loved ones. He brought incandescence to business lunches, amassing designs with felt pen on paper napkins and encouraging others to join him. He carried his sketchbook everywhere; he appreciated the patient reverence of staring at a cathedral in Florence and sketching it for an afternoon. Most well-known are his iconic, anomalous, annual Christmas cards, distributed to family and friends since the late 1980s. Each card was imbued with the exquisite attention of his creative vision. The final card of Christmas 2022 (though of course not distributed until early 2023!) was inspired by the world-famous Japanese woodblock print, The Great Wave off Kanagawa, by Katsushika Hokusai. Jim’s Christmas card portrayed the wave in its original magnificence, but this time made of snow with a large snowplow underneath struggling to haul the mass off the Rochester streets. He was an avid photographer, often the man behind the camera observing and capturing the vitality of human life and other aspects of the natural world. He left rolls of Kodak film behind in his freezer. He loved live-music, golfing with his friends, sailing, skiing, playing darts, the New York Giants, and driving his daughters to rehearsals in his hard-top Mazda Miata as the wind flowed through his bright red hair.
His greatest pride was being a father, a friend, a brother, and a son. Jim is survived by his eldest daughter, Grace Myers (23), and her half-sister, Maria Ísabel Moran Boehlert (15), who he loved and cared for as his own. He was a devoted, selfless father to Grace, offering immeasurable love and teaching her the importance of laughter, imagination, creativity, and rhetorical knowhow. Their conversations evolved from what accent he should use to read a bedtime story, to the structural forces that belie the classification of the St. Louis Gateway “Arch.” They bonded over a mutual appreciation for negative space - Jim in architecture, Grace in choreography – and supported activist efforts, including those to reduce gun violence and expand social security. He taught Maria to draw, proudly framed her works, and never missed a violin, vocal or dance performance. The three of them enjoyed song filled car rides, belting out Les Misérables and Jesus Christ Superstar. Jim enjoyed the unique archetype of “Dance Dad,” and found his niche at their performances tinkering away behind his tripod.
Jim is also survived by his beloved father, Arthur Thomas Myers; his dear siblings, Catherine Prato, Tom Myers, and Kristin Felice; his brothers in law, Joseph Prato and Mark Felice; and his adored nieces and nephews, Elizabeth Prato, Thomas Prato, James Felice, Carolyn Felice, and Anna Felice. Jim and his siblings boasted a shared sense of humor and loved each other as cherished friends. He had a knack for knowing how to make them laugh to the point of tears, once bellowing “The Word of the Lord” after his reading at his sister Cathy’s wedding rehearsal. He is also survived by many friends, including the Splint McGriffers, the sons of the “Worrying Mother’s of the Wayward Catholics,” and all those who have ever had the privilege of being bemused by his unrelenting sarcasm. He joins his sharp-witted mother, Patricia Murray Myers, who passed in 2002.
Visitation will be held from 4:00 – 7:00pm on Friday, June 9 at Crawford Funeral Home. A service will be held at Spiritus Christi Church (Fitzhugh Street) at 10:00am on June 10.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to Donate Life https://donatelife.net/ to support those in need of life-saving organ transplants - like Jim who received a Kidney transplant in 2007 (thanks Aunt Cathy!).