Fund-raiser helps family with costs from death

June 30, 1997


Staff Writer

FAIRPLAY - When Mike Myers died in a traffic accident in April, he was just two weeks shy of eligibility of life insurance and other benefits.

Friends and family on Sunday staged an eight-hour benefit concert at the Fairplay carnival grounds to raise money to offset the costs his parents incurred and to remember a man who would have turned 32 on Saturday.

Hagerstown resident Stacey Harbaugh, who organized the event, did not know Myers except through his music. But she did not hesitate when she learned he had died. She insisted she was doing nothing extraordinary.


"I feel if more people would look out for other people, things wouldn't be the way they are," she said. "And it's a really hard time for a family."

Preston Myers said he was not surprised when a stranger approached him at the memorial service and offered to organize the fund-raiser.

"I'm not surprised because Mike had so much love to give other people," he said.

About a dozen bands, nearly half of which Myers played in at one time or another, performed on Sunday. Several hundred people showed up, including his wife Cindy, whom he had married about four months earlier.

"He was just so into his music that he was willing to help out anybody who needed it," said Jimmy Long, who said Myers learned bass guitar when one band was in a tight spot. "He was just about one of the best persons you could meet."

Long said he quit playing for a couple of months after Myers died. He said several musicians who knew him well had little heart for performing.

Myers was driving home to Falling Waters, W.Va., at about 5:05 a.m. on April 7 from his job at Food Lion Warehouse in Greencastle, Pa. when he apparently fell asleep on Interstate 81. After his car overturned several times, he was thrown from the vehicle and struck by two oncoming cars.

Cindy Myers said her husband had just driven eight hours the day before and went into work on his night off because the store needed help.

"He didn't want to let anyone down by saying no," she said. "He was always trying to make other people happy before himself."

Passion for music

Several friends used the same adjective to describe the way Myers felt about his music: intense.

"He wanted everything to be perfect," said Curt Kimbrell, who played with him in a band called Dirty Deal.

His wife said Myers would dive into a new piece of music.

"He would say, `I've got to learn this new song. It's going to be so hard,'" she said. "Then he would come back 30 minutes later and say, `Want to hear?'"

His father said it was the same when he was a young boy growing up in Leitersburg. He was a natural on the flute but switched to guitar after other kids teased him about the flute, the elder Myers said. From then on, he played the guitar every chance he got - even if it meant practicing at 4 a.m. before school.

"I always encouraged him to play sports, but he'd always go back to his albums and his records and his guitar," he said.

Myers said his son studied at Guitar Institute of Technology in California in 1987 a few years after graduating from Smithsburg High School and played regularly in local clubs and bars.

Cindy Myers said she ordered a piano around Christmas. She planned to have it delivered on Saturday for her husband's birthday. The plan was for him to teach her to play.

She won't get that chance now, but Myers said she had the piano delivered anyway.

"He got his birthday present," she said.

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