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Thomas J. Myers Sr., National Bohemian beer executive, dies

Thomas J. Myers Sr., National Bohemian beer executive, dies
Thomas Myers was a National Bohemian beer executive. (Baltimore Sun)

Thomas James Myers Sr., a retired National Brewing Co. executive, died of lung cancer Oct. 2 at Gilchrist Hospice Care. The Timonium resident was 80.

Born in Baltimore and raised on Massachusetts Avenue, he was the son of Talmadge Myers and his wife, Mary. He was a 1954 graduate of Polytechnic Institute, where he played baseball, football, basketball and ice hockey. Family members said he received an offer from the Washington Senators but declined in order to attend the University of Maryland, College Park and play football. A tackle, he was on the 1956 team that lost to the University of Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl.

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"One of his teachers at Poly advised him to continue in school," said his daughter, Antoinette "Toni" Myers Brennan of Cockeysville. "He took his advice."

Mr. Myers was a punter, drop kicker and lineman at Maryland and was known at the school for his ability to kick a football over buildings, including College Park dormitories. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree at the school.

Sports columnist John Steadman wrote in the old News American that Mr. Myers was "one of the last great drop kickers."

While on a trip to Ocean City, he met his future wife, Melva Rose Sansone. They married in 1955.

He worked summers during college at National Brewing. He began work at Reuben H. Donnelly Advertising, but rejoined National Brewing. He was 1958 Salesman of the Year and 1961 Distinguished Salesman of the Year. Judge J. Harold Grady, a former mayor of Baltimore, presented him with a trophy in 1963 at the Distinguished Salesmen Awards Banquet.

"Tom was a gregarious person and a good salesperson. He could remember everybody he ever met. He was just personable," said Rowland King, a National Brewing director of engineering and a friend who lives in Towson. "He knew his product and was loyal to the company."

In 1963 he was named the brewer's Washington sales manager and rose through the organization to become vice president of sales. In 1969, in a company reorganization, he was transferred to Miami to manage National's plant there.

"My father was a huge Baltimore Colts fan, and when they played home games, he flew back to Baltimore from Miami," his daughter said. "He also loved the Baltimore Clippers."

While in Florida, he befriended Orioles executive Frank Cashen. Mr. Myers and his family, then residents of Key Biscayne, Fla., mixed socially with Orioles players and their families who had homes there.

Mr. Myers returned to Baltimore in 1974. After National Brewing was sold to Carling and then to G. Heileman, he headed operations at the Heileman plant in Perry, Ga. He also completed a $20 million capital program at the Halethorpe plant in 1983 after National Bohemian's landmark Dillon Street brewery in Brewers Hill in East Baltimore closed.

Mr. Myers retired in 1990 and became a consultant for Ratrie-Robbins.

He was a volunteer at schools in Key Biscayne, where he coached Little League baseball, as well as soccer and football.

Mr. Myers enjoyed golf and tennis with his friends at the Towson Golf and Country Club and was a devotee of games of bocce at Highland Woods Country Club in Bonita Springs, Fla.

He had been a volunteer and benefactor of the old St. Vincent's Orphanage in Northwest Baltimore. He was also a volunteer at St. Vincent's Villa in Timonium. After the 1989 death of his son, Thomas J. Myers Jr., he funded a room there.

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His daughter said her father was a sensitive, sage and gregarious man. "He always found time to give of himself," she said.

"Uncle Tom always had time to speak with me and to my entire family. He even had instructed his secretary to interrupt him for any family, even if he was in a meeting," said his niece, Joanne Earl of Key Biscayne.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Roman Catholic Church of the Nativity, 20 E. Ridgely Road in Timonium.

In addition to his daughter, survivors include his wife of 61 years and three grandsons. .

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