Maurice "Maury" Meyers
Maurice "Maury" Meyers
April 16, 1932 - June 15, 2014
On Sunday, June 15, 2014, we lost the most extraordinary husband, dad, grandpa, brother, uncle, loyal Beaumont citizen, and friend, The Honorable Maurice (Maury) Meyers. With his family at his bedside, Maury passed away peacefully at home.
Maury served the City of Beaumont as its Mayor for four terms: 1978-1980, 1980-1982, 1986-1988 and 1988-1990. His years as a civic leader and as Mayor changed the face of Beaumont and the character of the community.
A transplanted Texan since 1959, Maury was born April 16, 1932, in Bal Harbour, New York, where as a youngster he displayed a serious competitive fire. A gifted athlete, Maury attended New York University, played baseball on scholarhip and played basketball there as well. After graduating from NYU, he served two years in Germany in the Army Special Services, for which he was awarded three medals. Maury (his baseball nickname was Mo) excelled at baseball, and was drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies as a pitcher. An injury interrupted that dream to pitch in the majors and put Maury on a different path. Maury took a job as a business machines salesman in Florida.
Our dad and mom, Arline Levine Meyers, met while they were each on dates with other people. That chance meeting led to a marriage that spanned fifty-seven years, to the love of his life- his best friend, confident, and most ardent supporter.
In 1961, Maury visited Beaumont and in 1962 he moved the family to Beaumont to start an office machines company, Accurate Business Machines, Inc. Initially located above a barber shop, the one room space was so small that Maury hung a “PRIVATE” sign on the bathroom door so customers would think it was his office. Maury owned and operated Accurate Business Machines from four different locations over the next thirty-seven years.
Maury was first elected Mayor of Beaumont in April, 1978. Upon completion of his first two-year term, (1978-1980), he was re-elected for a second two year term (1980-1982). He chose not to run for a third term in order to return to private life and focus on Accurate Business Machines. Several years later, Maury was encouraged to run for Mayor again and was re-elected for a third term (1986-1988), and for a fourth term (1988-1990) with an 84.6% majority. For his leadership in reviving Beaumont, Maury was chosen as the recipient of the 1988 John Ben Shepperd Award for Political Courage. This statewide honor was presented at the Lyndon B. Johnson Library in Austin, Texas.
Maury’s years as Mayor saw the passage of a $31 million bond issue for improvement of major thoroughfares, creation and development of Best Years Center for senior citizens, and the completion of a new city hall and civic center. He understood that citizen pride in Beaumont was essential, so he began programs like the popular and spirit uplifting Thanksgiving Ecumenical Service, Concerts on the Move, Symphony on the Barge 4th of July celebration, and “Sunday in the Park” which brought thousands of people out to River-front Park. Throughout his terms in office, hundreds of private citizens volunteered to serve on advisory committees.
Maury felt that every citizen “has a part to play in economic development”. On February 17, 1987, over 10,000 people crammed into the Beaumont Civic Center while more than 120,000 local citizens watched on TV, as The World’s Largest Economic Summitt was held at the Beaumont Civic Center. The following morning millions of viewers from around the nation tuned in as the CBS Business This Morning show played a 6 minute tape about the Summit and then congratulated Beaumont for its efforts. This was one of Maury’s most rewarding moments.
For those of you who’ve been around for a while, you may have seen articles published about Maury, as well as stories on the local television stations about his civic accomplishments. You may have driven over the Maury Meyers Bridge named in his honor, or seen his name on the many plaques in recognition of his contributions to the construction of the various buildings, parks and museums that are a part of Beaumont’s landscape. But Maury was so much more than a civic leader. He was our dad.
Dad was at all times a family-man first. He was home for family dinner most every night, where us five kids regaled the family with our stories and activities of the day. Dad was loving and affectionate and always happy to walk arm in arm with us or offer a big hug. One day when one of our sisters was home from college for Spring Break, dad and she went to pick up dinner from the Chinese Restaurant. As they were leaving the restaurant, dad put his arm around her shoulder. Shortly after, an “anonymous citizen” called our home to report to Mom that the Mayor was seen leaving a Chinese Restaurant with his arm around a young girl. We all got a good laugh.
Even with his busy schedule, dad always had time to watch our brother and sisters play baseball, dance and cheer; coaching their baseball teams for many years. Our first home backed up to the Sally Curtis baseball fields. Since dad was an excellent umpire, on any given night various teams might knock on our back window if they were short an umpire.
Dad didn’t just talk the talk, he walked the walk. Honest politician’s are few and far between. One of dad’s dearest friends once described him as “nauseatingly honest”. Our family can all remember sitting around the kitchen table after dad’s first run at Mayor. He had donor money left from that campaign and he insisted on dividing the money up and mailing it back to his donors. We sat at our kitchen table, while mom and dad wrote the checks and addressed the envelopes and us kids stuffed the envelopes and licked the stamps.
Dad never got “too big for his britches”. As Mayor, during the cleanup stages of Hurricane Bonnie, a citizen called our home (dad always kept our phone number listed so any citizen could reach him) upset that her trash had not been collected. Dad asked for her address, drove over to her home, and personally picked up all her trash. Another phone call came at 2:30 a.m., from a citizen requesting to meet with the Mayor. When dad met with that citizen at 10:00 a.m., that day, the citizen wanted to know why the bars close at 2:00 a.m. Another citizen called the house to tell dad he had a solution to the crime problem, “Let lions loose on the streets of Beaumont.” When President Jimmy Carter was planning his visit to Beaumont, a call came in to dad’s Accurate Business Machines office. When the Accurate Business Machines’ secretary answered, the caller said, “This is the White House calling.” The secretary asked, “Downtown or Gateway?” After all, who expects a call from the “Washington DC White House”?
Dad was devastated when his Parkinson’s Disease advanced to the point that he was unable to continue to host his annual Parkinson’s Research Golf Tournament, the Dr. Sol J. and Miriam Rogers Memorial Golf Tournament benefiting Parkinson’s research. Dad founded, planned, coordinated and hosted this tournament for six years with 100% of the dollars going directly to the Parkinson’s Research Endowment Fund at Baylor College of Medicine. Dad raised over $657,000 toward finding a cure for Parkinson’s Disease.
Dad was Beaumont’s biggest advocate. Below are some of the accomplishments, projects, and programs he initiated: Senior Citizen’s Best Years Center; Riverfront Park; Julie Rogers Theatre for the Performing Arts; R.C. Miller Branch Library; Beaumont Health Clinic; first City operated EMS Emergency Medical Ambulance System; automated garbage system; Tyrrell Historical Library renovation; Texas Energy Museum; Edison Bldg; Beaumont Civic Center; Visitor Information Center; Beaumont City Hall; Charlton Pollard Nursery; Stedman Fruit Company Warehouse renovation (Walter Umphrey building); new Central Fire Station; Snitch Patrol; Crocket Street Entertainment District; creation of Clean Community Commission for City Beautification; creation of the Mayor’s Committee for Employment of the Disabled (selected best in the state and winner of Arbuckle Award); Operation Clean Streets; Adopt-A-Park; Beaumont Business and Education 2000; founder and host of the Nation’s first “National Youth Service Day”; completion of largest city-wide residential street improvement program; initiation of capital programs for water and sewage system improvements; development of master plan for drainage; received $150,000 toward creation of the “Welcome to Beaumont” Park honoring Delia Harrington; founding Chairman of the first regional economic development effort in Jefferson, Orange and Hardin County (SET INC) Southeast Texas Inc.; brought labor and business together with the formation of Planning Economic Progress (PEP) Labor Management Forum; Economic Summits I and II.
Dad always told us how proud he was of each of us, but he was not nearly as proud of us as we are of him. Dad led by example and the example he set for his children can never be quantified. We will miss him more than words can describe.
He is survivied by his devoted wife of fifty-seven years, Arline; his four daughters and one son, Ellen Polansky and husband, Roger; Peggy Hardy and Trey Herbert; Nancy Meyers; Jamie Bisel and husband, Chris; Casey Meyers and wife, Sandra Crocker, and her son, Logan Crocker; grandchildren, Steven Polansky, Jake Polansky, Travis Hardy, Andrew Hardy, Ben Hardy, Reagan Bisel and Devon Bisel; sister, Betty Meyers; and nephews, Mark Meyers, Elliot Meyers, Steven Levine, Noel Levine and Bobby Gura. Maury is pre-deceased by his brother, Haskell Meyers; sister, Estelle Gura; and his parents, Irving and Edith Meyers.
The family would like to thank Gentiva Hospice, Susan Subia, Chelsea Woods, and Rhonda Gill, and caregivers, Terry Bagley and Maggie Guidry, for their loving care and support. With tremendous gratitude to Veronica Richards for all of her assistance over the past seven years.
A memorial service will be held Thursday, June 19, 2014, 3:30 p.m., at Temple Emanuel, 1120 Broadway Street, Beaumont, Texas 77701. A gathering of family and friends will follow the service in Swerdlow-Roosth Social Hall in Rosinger Center of Temple Emanuel. Arrangements are under the direction of Broussard’s, 1605 North Major Drive, Beaumont.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations in Maury’s memory be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research, Grand Central Station, P. O. Box 4777, New York, New York 10163; Temple Emanuel, 1120 Broadway Street, Beaumont, Texas 77701; or to the charity of your choice.