In Memoriam

Robert H. Myers
Professor Emeritus of Marketing
1919 – 2011

Robert (Bob) Myers was a consummate advocate of Miami University and the City of Oxford, a caring teacher and a wonderful colleague whose life and career constituted a major contribution to the marketing discipline, the Marketing Department, Miami University and the City of Oxford. Bob died on February 26, 2011. Bob was born in Muncie, Indiana, on May 19, 1919, the only child of Robert Henry and Clyda Alice Myers. Bob graduated from Kenyon College in 1941 and served in the U.S. Army during World War II. He earned a master’s degree and doctorate in business administration from Indiana University. He began his career at Miami University in 1948 as an instructor in marketing. When he completed his Ph.D. in 1952, he returned to Miami, where he taught in the business school until his retirement in 1984.

Bob was the retailing expert in the Marketing Department and he taught Retail Management and Marketing Strategy for most of his 33 years on the faculty. Bob was also an avid market researcher, having conducted numerous research studies for a wide array of local, regional, and national firms. Some of Bob’s most noteworthy clients included the First National Bank of Dayton, Federated Department Stores, and the Kroger Company--the largest retail grocer in the United States. In Bob’s early tenure in the business school, the school maintained a Bureau of Business Research and Bob was the Director of the Bureau from 1963-1968. The Bureau published scholarly articles and also compiled several sets of economic data for the region and published the information periodically in the Miami Business Review. The Miami Business Review was edited by Bob and he became a writing mentor for many of the Miami faculty who published in the Review. The Bureau of Business Research was renamed and refocused its efforts in 1968, and Bob became the Associate Dean and Director of the new Division of Research from 1968 to 1973. In addition to teaching, administration, and research, Bob also served as the first secretary of the Dean’s Business Advisory Council, a position he held beyond his retirement from teaching. As part of his efforts with the BAC, Bob was instrumental in working out a plan to bring executives to campus for one week residences enabling them to appear before classes and meet with students in informal sessions.

Bob was engaged in several new and interesting programs during his years in the business school. In the early fifties, Bob was the leader in developing a unique interdisciplinary program with the school of education. Instructors from the business school taught selected secondary and elementary teachers principles of family finance that they could pass on to their own students. As testimony to Bob’s efforts with this program, it was offered for 21 years from 1954 to 1975. Bob was also very active on a committee established by the Chicago Board of Trade to organize programs of interest to marketing educators. Bob was chair of this committee for one year, and the group created an annual symposium for educators and offered scholarships to undergraduate and graduate business students.

Bob loved to talk and debate politics and those who knew him well always anticipated a good “fight” when they discussed (argued) politics with Bob. Many would have classified Bob as an arch-conservative, and that was probably an apt description. While at Miami and into his retirement, Bob was a frequent contributor of columns about current political, economic and business events, never straying from his conservative ideology. His columns appeared in the Cincinnati Enquirer, the Dayton Daily News, and the Hamilton Journal. It was easy to recognize Bob’s contributions, as they consistently argued from the far right. Bob’s passion for his political beliefs was refreshing, as he never backed down from the values that he held dear. Bob also wrote a number of editorials for the Oxford Press offering opinions on actions of the Oxford City Council and Planning Commission, and he was never afraid to take a stand on the key issues of the day. You may not have agreed with Bob’s point of view, but one had to be impressed with the eloquence of his arguments. Bob’s undergraduate degree in English from Kenyon College served him well, as his articles and columns were models of effective writing.

Bob was an indefatigable promoter of Oxford as a good place for businesses to locate and one of his favorite passions was the creation of the Oxford Shopping Survey. He would organize students to interview other students and town’s people about their shopping habits both in Oxford and in other locations. Bob would then share the findings of his study with the Oxford retailing establishment, the Oxford Press and the Chamber of Commerce. The results and findings from the Shopping Survey were intended to provide guidance to the local merchants and city fathers on the types of businesses and products that might flourish in Oxford. The Oxford Shopping Survey was conducted three times, beginning in 1983, again in 1988 and finally the last Survey was completed in 1997. Whenever the Survey was conducted, Bob made sure that it provided marketing students with solid hands-on experience in all phases of a comprehensive marketing research project from initial planning through preparation of the final survey results. In addition, the Survey allowed Oxford merchants the opportunity to review a wealth of information about their operations and the shopping behavior of their Oxford customers. Bob provided detailed recommendations to the Oxford merchants for improving their competitive positions. Providing strong evidence that Bob never really retired, the final Oxford Shopping Survey was completed 13 years after his retirement from Miami!

Bob was a member of the Oxford Rotary Club and a past Chairman of its Foundation Committee. While in college, Bob was a member of the Alpha Delta Phi fraternity, which was the first fraternity west of the Alleghenies. The Alpha Delta Phi fraternity came to Miami in 1833, was eventually deactivated, and Bob later played a key role in reactivating the Chapter at Miami.

Bob was active physically, particularly after he retired. He took great pride in exercise and he developed into a very discerning student of diet and health. As he aged he seemed to become more focused on eating healthy and a daily regimen of cardiovascular exercise. Many of us would marvel to see Bob jogging up and down the challenging hills of Bonham Road, but that was Bob’s new mantra. He bicycled, jogged, or walked daily well into his 80’s. Along with extensive physical exercise in the later stages of his life, Bob continued to exercise his mind with his political and economic commentaries in the local print media.

Bob was blessed with a wonderful family whom he loved and cherished. One of his great passions was talking about their triumphs and successes, keeping friends up to date on all the latest happenings and events of the Myers’ clan. Bob married his wife, Joan, on November 4, 1944 and together they raised four children: Robert Miller, Stephanie Jo, Michael Joseph, and Susan Elizabeth. Bob was preceded in death by his wife, Joan, and his son, Robert Miller Myers. He had nine loving grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. One of Bob’s favorite family stories focused on the time when he received his Ph.D. from Indiana. Upon returning home triumphant, he announced the accomplishment to the family. His son, Bobby, had a friend over who quite innocently stated, “Wow, your Dad is a doctor!” to which young Bobby replied, “Yeah, well, not the kind that can help people!” Little did young Bobby know how much his father would help generations of students and business people over his illustrious career.

Bob Myers truly loved life itself: a good Manhattan, a spirited debate, soothing jazz music, great food, a good joke, and huge doses of conservative politics. He had a deep passion for his family, his circle of friends, his profession, Miami University, and the City of Oxford. He devoted most of his life to these passions, and relished the interactions with his extensive family and wide range of friends. He is indeed missed very deeply by those who knew and loved him.

Respectfully submitted by Nancy Mixell, David Rosenthal, Tom Speh and Jim Stearns.