Marion Myers

[ Age 90 ] Former city schoolteacher was first lady of Bowie State College

December 28, 2006|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,sun reporter

Marion Myers, who presided at Bowie State College functions while her husband was its president and earlier had been a Baltimore public schools teacher, died of Alzheimer's disease complications Dec. 21 at Maplewood Park Place senior living community in Bethesda. She was 90.

Born Marion Tama Rieras in New Orleans, she earned a bachelor's degree in Latin from Xavier University, where she was a member of the varsity track team and belonged to the Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority.

In 1943, she married Samuel L. Myers and moved to Baltimore's Windsor Avenue several years later when he became an economics professor at what is now Morgan State University.

She took education courses at the University of Maryland, College Park and taught at Baltimore's Cherry Hill Elementary School from the early 1950s until 1967 when her husband was named president of what was then Bowie State College, and now is a university.

As the college's first lady, she lived on campus.

"She was down-to-earth and not affected by social status," her husband said yesterday. "Students would knock on the door at 2 in the morning and want to talk about their boyfriends. She would invite them into our kitchen, give them something to eat and talk."

Dr. Myers credits her rapport with Bowie students, who briefly closed down the college with a 1967 protest of conditions there, as a contributing factor in their embracing him as their new president.

"She had an open-door policy," said her daughter, Tama Myers Clark, a state trial judge in Philadelphia. "She was vivacious, effervescent and caring."

Mrs. Myers also assisted her husband during the 18 years he was president of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education, an association of 117 historically black colleges and universities.

Her husband said that she had accompanied him on more than 15 official trips to African countries.

"She was always an authentic and unpretentious woman," he said. "If there was a limousine waiting at the airplane for us, she was just as ready to jump into a Jeep."

Mrs. Myers played contract bridge and was a member of the Northwest Child Study Group.

A memorial Mass will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Jane Frances de Chantal Roman Catholic Church, 9601 Old Georgetown Road, Bethesda, where she was a member.

In addition to her husband and daughter, survivors include a son, Samuel L. Myers Jr. of North Oaks, Minn.; another daughter, Yvette Marion Myers of Durham, N.C.; a brother, George Rieras of Bossier, La.; and two granddaughters.

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