Obituary: Janis Carter Myers / Dedicated volunteer at her McKeesport church

June 24, 1940 - Dec. 6, 2013

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Janis Carter Myers volunteered so often at Kephart United Methodist Church in McKeesport that her husband, son and two daughters considered it their second home.

"All of my friends were at the church. All of my parents' friends were at the church. It was a way of getting together. It kept us out of trouble," said Karen Myers Jeffer, Mrs. Myers' eldest daughter.

An exceptional organizer with plenty of energy and multiple talents, Mrs. Myers served as the church secretary, played the organ at the Sunday morning service and taught Sunday school. She sang with the Kephart Women's Trio, served as the church's finance chairman and belonged to its worship team.

"She absolutely loved it. She was one of those go-getters that got involved in everything that was available," Mrs. Jeffer said.

Mrs. Myers, of White Oak, died of cancer Friday at UPMC Mercy. She was 73.

Her desire to help less fortunate people included a 10-day mission to Port au Prince, Haiti.

"We actually all went as a family to Haiti back in the 1970s. I was in middle school. My dad went and helped build churches. My mother and brother and I were in a choir. We would go in to the established churches and sing. It was eye opening. People were living in huts with no running water. But they all had smiles on their faces," Mrs. Jeffer recalled.

For the past several years, Mrs. Myers organized her church's Clothing Closet Team, whose members sort bags of donated clothing for the poor according to color and size. Along with coffee and doughnuts, the clothing is distributed on the first Saturday of each month.

"Her job was to greet everybody that came into the church, write their name down on a piece of paper and tell them she would be praying for them that week," Mrs. Jeffer said.

Mrs. Myers attended Lincoln Elementary and graduated from McKeesport High School in 1958 with the dream of becoming a teacher. In 1960, she married her high school sweetheart, Arthur Myers. Together, they became active in their church, where Mr. Myers organized the Sunday school teachers, taught a class himself and sang in the choir.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, Mrs. Myers was an office worker at the McKeesport branch of G.C. Murphy's, a discount department store chain. From the 1980s through the 1990s, she was employed as a manager at Fishers of Men, a Christian bookstore in McKeesport's Olympia Shopping Center.

For 20 years, she volunteered at Cornerstone TeleVision in Wall, where she prayed with people who called a telephone number on the Christian broadcast station. She also delivered homemade cookies for an annual telethon, which was a fundraiser for the station.

Sharon Myers King, who lives in Trafford and has taught first grade at Pittsburgh Colfax elementary since 2000, said her mother regularly volunteered to help her in the classroom, always arriving with a big tray of homemade thumbprint cookies.

"My mom, every single year, would come in and volunteer, read books to the children and do craft activities. She would make a huge photo album of the class and all the activities they did for me," Mrs. King said.

Mrs. Myers enjoyed reading and crocheting dish cloths and table pads.

"She would make them as gifts. She couldn't go anywhere without giving someone something," Mrs. Jeffer said.

Mrs. Myers read a verse of Scripture each day with her youngest daughter, Sharon, before putting her on the bus for school. She used her own savings to turn her collection of verses, which she wrote on index cards, into a spiral-bound book.

"She would wrap them up and give them as presents," Mrs. Jeffer said.

With her husband, Mrs. Myers often visited Ligonier in Westmoreland County, where the couple rented log cabins for weekend getaways.

"My mom and dad loved being outdoors," Mrs. King said. "She loved the fall. She loved to go up there in the fall and look at the leaves."

Besides her husband and two daughters, Mrs. Myers is survived by a son, Arthur F. of Pittsburgh and one sister, Joan Herrold of Lake Placid, Fla.

Friends will be received today at Jaycox-Jaworski Funeral Home, 2703 O'Neil Blvd., McKeesport, and Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. A funeral service will be held Tuesday at 10 a.m. in Kephart United Methodist Church, McKeesport. Interment will follow in Jefferson Memorial Park, Pleasant Hills.


Marylynne Pitz: mpitz@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1648.


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