Vernon Myers Passes Away

23 Feb
Vernon Myers Sails on Blue Lake

Vernon Myers Sails on Blue Lake

Especially sad news as Blue Lake resident, and awesome grandpa, Dr. Vernon W. Myers passed away last night at the age of 90 in Phoenix, Arizona.

Vernon Work Myers, the youngest of five children, was born on February 16, 1919, to the late Anna “Mary” Smiley and Clinton “Dan” Myers of Elwood City, Pennsylvania. His family valued education, and his scholastic achievements brought him from a one-room school house in rural Pennsylvania to Geneva College in Beaver Falls, Pennsylvania, where he completed his undergraduate coursework in 1940. Vernon then received a Master’s Degree in Physics from Syracuse University and earned a Ph.D. in Physics from Yale University in 1947 at the age of 28.

During World War Two, Vernon joined the Navy and, while an ensign, met lieutenant junior-grade Betty Buchheit at the Navy Junior Officer’s Club in Washington, D.C. in the spring of 1945. They married in the summer of 1947 in Park Ridge, Illinois and had five children: Albert, Vernon “Bucky,” Mary, Marguerite “Peggy,” and Elisabeth “Betsy.”

During his distinguished career, Dr. Myers worked as a research scientist at the Argonne National Laboratory in Chicago from 1947 to 1948, and then worked as a Professor of Physics at The Pennsylvania State University. He later worked as a research scientist at the Brookhaven National Laboratory on Long Island. Starting in 1966 until retirement in 1984, Dr. Myers worked as a research scientist for the National Bureau of Standards (now the National Institute of Standards and Technology) in Gaithersburg, Maryland, near Washington, D.C. In 1961 Vernon won a Fulbright Fellowship for lecture which afforded him and his family the unique opportunity to live in the Philippines for a year.

Dr. Myers worked at national laboratories housing particle accelerators and colliders that also serve as sources of neutrons that could be used to understand the structure and properties of matter. Dr. Myers’ work on neutron diffraction at the Brookhaven National Laboratory, published in 1962, was the first observation of quantized vibrational modes from defects in solids. At the National Bureau of Standards, he worked in the Institute for Materials Research which provided him the opportunity to conduct pioneering materials characterization work using neutron diffraction and inelastic scattering. Dr. Myers’ earlier work at Yale and at Penn State developed theories using quantum mechanics to calculate the forces between polar molecules, such as water and ammonia, as well as theoretical work on relativistic quantum mechanics.

Vernon Myers greatly enjoyed the outdoors and especially loved visiting Minocqua, where his wife Betty’s family owned property on Blue Lake. Vernon and Betty eventually permanently moved to Blue Lake from their home in Rockville, Maryland, to pursue their mutual affections for nature, sailing, hiking, and horseback riding. Vernon also enjoyed spending the winters in Phoenix, Arizona, after his retirement. Vernon’s other interests included traveling, literature, humor, and music. He was an avid reader, fascinating conversationalist, enjoyed telling jokes and often exercised his uncanny talent to sing with amazing lyrical accuracy just about any song he had ever heard.

Vernon Myers is honored by his wife, children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, a loving extended family, and his many friends in the Northwoods and around the country.

A service commemorating his life will be held this summer in Minocqua.

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