The Town of Summerville announced Wednesday, July 8, that longtime mayor, Berlin G. Myers, passed away that afternoon.
According to the release Myers died at his home. Myers was 98.
The visitation was held on Sunday, July 12, from 4p-7p at Summerville Baptist Church. The funeral service will be held at 10:00am on Monday, July 13, at Summerville Baptist Church.
In remembrance of Mayor Myers, all flags on town buildings will be flown at half-staff through Monday afternoon.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to Summerville Baptist Church, Charleston Southern University, Columbia College or a charity of one’s choice.
Statement from Mayor Collins:
“Summerville lost a giant of a man today with the passing of Mayor Myers. He served the town 39 years as its mayor during a period of unprecedented growth. He had commitment, wisdom and wit that enabled him to stay in the trenches fighting for the town he loved so much. His legacy will last forever. His long service as mayor can never be matched.”
Berlin George Myers, retired Mayor of Summerville, lifelong lumberman and Normandy Invasion veteran of World War II, went to join his Lord on July 8, 2015. Mr. Berlin was born in Knightsville, SC on March 1, 1917, the son of James Myers and Floride Knight Myers. He is survived by his wife, Marlena Redfern Lewis Myers. He and his late wife Janie Farmer Myers had four children, Loretta Atkins (LG), Berlin Myers Jr. (Betsy), Marie Brigham (Ed) and Jimmy Myers and three granddaughters, Johannah Myers, Elizabeth Brigham and Amy Myers.
He is also survived by step children DeLane Lewis (Kevin McKeown) and Van Lewis (Laura) and step grandchildren Brook and Kevin McKeown and Jake and Callie Lewis. Assessing his own priorities, he would always list them as: “My God, My Family with My Business, and My Town.”
He worked his entire adult life as a lumberman, celebrating the 75th anniversary year of his namesake business, beginning in 2014.He was known in the industry for designing better ways to pick up, deliver and store lumber, things which have been widely adopted.
Mr. Berlin served the Town of Summerville for nearly half a century and had the longest term as mayor in its 167-year history. He was first elected to town council in 1965 and served on every town committee. As mayor pro tem, he took office upon the death of Allan Luke in 1972 and then won 10 consecutive, four-year landslide mayoral elections.
He has been called an innovator and a visionary as well as an instinctive leader. Upon his retirement in 2011 it was said of him that “What defines his leadership is that he cares deeply about every citizen and they know it. His office is always open.” Mr. Berlin first led a town of 3,000 which grew to 15 times that size during his tenure. He listed his major achievement on council as working to build a new town hall and a new fire station as well as emphasizing annexation. Mayor Myers led the efforts to have police and fire departments, telecommunications and municipal court all housed in a single headquarters complex. The town hall was renovated and an annex built. The Sawmill Branch Canal was cleaned to improve drainage.
A major example of his vision was his namesake bypass road around downtown Summerville, the Berlin G. Myers Parkway. He saw the need for this over 50 years ago and worked for years with various agencies, even helping to plan the route.
His national service came as Army Sgt. Myers when he landed on Omaha Beach during the Normandy Invasion in June, 1944, and then followed General Patton into Paris and came home with four Bronze Stars.
Mr. Berlin was the recipient of numerous awards, garnered peer recognitions and belonged to many organizations. These included:
– Summerville Baptist Church where he was one of the oldest members, a Life Deacon, and over the years served on the Pastoral Church Committee and headed the Finance and Building committees
– Recipient of both the Order of the Silver Crescent and the Order of the Palmetto, the latter the state’s highest civilian award
– Given the “Book of Golden Deeds” award by the Charleston Exchange Club in honor of his service to his community
– Past board member of Dorchester County Hospital and board member of North Trident Hospital and its associate, Summerville Medical Center
– Past president and member of the Summerville Rotary Club
– Longest serving board member of First National Bank of South Carolina
– Co-founder of Charleston Southern University
– Past member of Board of Visitors of Columbia College
– Past director of the Municipal Association of South Carolina
– Affiliated with the National Building Material Association
– Past president and Board of Directors member of the Carolinas Lumber and Building Materials Dealers Association
Neatness in both the town and his lumber corporation was one of his major themes, once telling a staffer, “If it grows, pluck it up. If it doesn’t grow, pick it up.”
He was a dedicated football fan of both Clemson University and his alma mater, Summerville High School, Class of 1938. Mr. Berlin liked to remind people that he was a member of that school’s science class which planted “every blade of grass” on all 100 yards at the town’s football stadium, McKissick Field.
Favorite memories of his included his pride in meeting four presidents: Franklin Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Harry Truman and George H. W. Bush. The latter gave him a presidential tie clasp when visiting Summerville 25 years go after Hurricane Hugo, during which Mr. Berlin led the town’s recovery efforts. He wore that tie clasp every day since.
The family wishes to express special thanks to Betty C. Will and Bob Wheaton and to Intrepid Hospice for the loving, compassionate care they provided to Mr. Berlin.
In lieu of flowers the family suggests memorials to Summerville Baptist Church (417 Central Avenue, Summerville, SC 29483), Charleston Southern University (9200 University Blvd., N. Charleston, SC 29406), Columbia College Myers Call Center (1301 Columbia College Dr., Columbia, SC 29203), or the charity of one’s choice.