Keith G. Myers, Bus Ad ’62, Grad ’68
When life’s going well, it’s easy to know how to respond. But what do you do when things go suddenly, horribly wrong? A devastating personal loss forced this question upon Keith Myers. Helping people find the answer became his mission.
After decades of success in corporate management, Keith was ready to retire. But fate intervened. In the space of a year, he suffered the loss of six loved ones: his father, his mother-in-law and four cousins and friends. Then came a seventh death — his wife, Charlene.
Suddenly retirement, with its countless hours of idle contemplation, didn’t seem so attractive. Instead, he went back to work, but with a new focus. A friend, director David Bojorquez, was filming a DVD series about grief and healing called Journey of Loss … Discovery of Hope. Keith joined the project.
In a time of intense personal grief, he says, it was good to be able to focus on something “that’s going to be productive and helpful for others, in honor of the people I’ve lost.”
He also honored the memory of his wife by establishing a Marquette scholarship to help others handle the tough questions of life. The Keith G. and Charlene V. Myers Ethics Scholarship, open to students in any major, funds an ethics minor designed to give students the tools for informed, ethical decision-making.
“There are truths,” Keith says. “You need to understand them, understand why you believe in them and how they guide your responses. It’s the opposite of situational ethics.”
Further aiding the study of morality and ethics at Marquette, Keith provides the funding for the university’s annual Edward D. Simmons Lecture on Society and Human Values. Now in its eighth year, the lecture tackles ethical questions, says Keith, such as stem cell research, cloning and end-of-life decision-making, as well as other subjects like ethics in journalism.
As for his new career in movie making, Keith took it slowly at first. Coming so soon after his wife’s death, working on the grief DVD project “was a bit overwhelming,” he says. “I didn’t think I could handle it emotionally.”
He eased his way in, starting as a consultant and eventually becoming a full partner with Bojorquez in the production company Vision4Media.
“Part of my role in the DVD series was to walk with people who had suffered a loss after we interviewed them,” Myers says. “I’d walk in the garden with them and offer them a chance to have a talk and a cry.”
He adds, “Some of those walks were pretty long.”
Myers also helped with editing the film and developing a booklet on grief that was included with the DVD. The DVD has become a popular training tool for bereavement specialists in hospitals, hospices and the funeral industry. Cemeteries also have used it as an after-care gift to families who have buried a loved one.
“It’s not a real moneymaker,” Myers says of the award-winning video, “but it has helped a lot of people.”
Beyond filmmaking, Myers helped found 2SenseWorth, a charity to enrich the lives of children in need. He also has served on the Marquette University Alumni Association National Board of Directors and in other leadership positions for the Marquette Club of Southern California, with which he is extremely active.
“My grandfather taught me to look for the good in others,” he says. “Marquette taught those same things — the Jesuit ideal of the respect and dignity of every human being because we all have God in us.”