Retired airline-marketing representative and longtime City of Brotherly Love Softball League player Paul Myers died May 1 of complications from Alzheimer’s. He was 71.
Myers grew up in Tacony, graduating from Father Judge High School before entering the U.S. Air Force. He served overseas for four years during the Vietnam War.
Upon returning, Myers went to work for Delta Airlines.
Tony Iero, his partner of 34 years, said Myers happened into the Delta career by chance.
“He was actually applying for another job near the airport and the bus happened to stop in front of the airport so he went in, decided to apply and they hired him. And 30 years later, he was still there,” Iero said.
Myers worked in ticketing and later in sales and marketing, Iero said. He retired when he was in his 50s and went on to work part-time selling real estate.
Myers and Iero lived in South Philadelphia for the first half of their relationship and later moved to Center City.
The couple met in the now-defunct 247 Bar.
“I was standing there and he came up to me and we just started talking,” Iero said. “It was tough because he was married at the time and had children and I was involved with someone but we persevered and decided to make it work.”
Myers’ line of work fueled his passion for traveling. Iero said some of Myers’ favorite trips were to Amsterdam and Italy.
He also enjoyed jogging, reading and playing volleyball and softball, including as a longtime member of CBLSL.
Myers managed the 12th Air Command team in 1999, recruiting a number of new players and leading the team to its second-place finish. The team also traveled to Kansas City to compete in the Gay World Series and placed second in that year’s Liberty Bell Classic.
He later served as scorekeeper and treasurer for the team, which went on to become known as the Philly Wolves.
Wolves manager Eric Holliday said Myers was a calming, motivating presence.
“He was like a father figure to the team,” Holliday said. “Paul was just a laidback kind of guy who everyone liked. There was competitiveness, absolutely, but Paul made sure that everyone had fun; if someone dropped the ball, he didn’t go nuts. He would take them to the side and say, ‘Go back out there and don’t worry about what happened. You’ll make the next catch.’ Everybody loved Paul for that.”
Holliday said Myers strove to get to know all the players on a personal level as well.
“I retired from the Department of Corrections and years ago when I was an officer going for the sergeant rank, I remember Paul said, ‘You’re going to make sergeant, I know you are.’ He gave me that confidence, and I did make sergeant. He was just a really good guy who took the time to really know all of our players.”
The Wolves and 4 Play held a moment of silence for Myers before their game earlier this month.
Myers was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s four years ago.
“It was very tough,” Iero said about the diagnosis. “It’s very sad for all Alzheimer’s patients, but especially so when you love one.”
The experience showed him the need for enhanced awareness about the disease, Iero said.
“People need to understand Alzheimer’s as an illness and not a behavioral problem. Paul was no different than he was previously, he just developed a disease he couldn’t control.”
Iero said Myers will be most remembered by his loved ones for his good nature.
“He was very loving and caring. He was witty, and had a cute little smile. He was genuine. He loved me a great deal and I loved him a great deal. I was very fortunate to have that.”
In addition to Iero, Myers is survived by sons Paul and Dennis (Fernanda), three grandchildren, brothers Joseph (Nancy) and Richard (Michelle), sisters Elizabeth (Eugene), Rita (the late Alvin) and Elizabeth (Eugene), brother-in-law Peter (the late Helen) and many nieces and nephews.
A funeral was held May 5. Memorial contributions can be made to Alzheimer’s Association Delaware Valley, 399 Market St., Suite 102, Philadelphia, PA 19106.