Georg N. Meyers, ex-Times sports editor, dies
Seattle Times staff reporter
Georg N. Meyers, the gentlemanly Seattle Times sports editor whose crafted columns were a staple of the Seattle sports scene for nearly 30 years, died Monday at a Seattle health-care facility.
He was 91, having retired from The Times after the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles.
"Georg was a wonderful wordsmith and he could turn the perfect phrase to fit any situation," said former Times sportswriter Dick Rockne. "He was meticulous and punctual, too. I think we left the hotel for the 1978 Rose Bowl in the middle of the night. We got there before the place opened."
Janine Steffan, Mr. Meyers' daughter, said her father had been in good health until last November but then "everything just started to shut down."
Mr. Meyers joined The Times in 1949 and worked in the news department until moving to sports in 1956.
"Georg Myers was remarkable," said Mike Fancher, The Times' editor-at-large. "Georg had a literate gift that would make any writer envious. Ever the gentleman, he was a wonderful ambassador for The Seattle Times."
At least one dictionary quoted phrases Mr. Meyers had written to illustrate their proper use and meaning.
Born in Kansas City on July 1, 1915, Mr. Meyers grew up in California, where he graduated from College of the Pacific.
He met his first wife, Dallas, while working at the Fairbanks News-Miner in Alaska before the outbreak of World War II. He entered the Army and won a Bronze Star in the Aleutian campaign, his daughter said.
He later served as an editor of the European continental edition of Yank Magazine, a publication for enlisted men. His interview subjects included Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower.
Dallas Meyers died in 1979 of cancer. Six years later, while driving through California, Mr. Meyers called his college girlfriend, Norma Bazett.
"It had been 46 years but it felt like 46 minutes," Mr. Meyers told his daughter of their meeting. They were married 30 days later.
Former Washington football coach Don James called Mr. Meyers "a beloved guy" and "sharp."
James said Mr. Meyers "would rather write something positive than something negative" but was on target when he was critical.
Dick Fry, retired Washington State sports-information director, remembers Mr. Meyers inviting him and his son to Thanksgiving dinner one time in the early 1960s, two days before the Apple Cup.
"That's just the way Georg was," Fry said. "He was a gentleman all the way ... The guy also was a beautiful writer."
Retired Times associate editor Blaine Newnham, who still writes a Sunday sports column for the newspaper, said, "I was the sports editor of the student daily at Cal in the early '60s when I first met Georg at a press conference. I knew who he was; every sports journalist on the West Coast did. He worked the room with a drink in his hand but never seemed to drink it. I couldn't take my eyes off him. He was entirely professional and precise when others weren't. He was respectful of those he was interviewing without being reverent. He was social but studious at the same time."
John Owen, retired Post-Intelligencer sports editor and columnist, was Mr. Meyers' rival but they were friends. They were also the last to handle the dual roles of lead columnist and sports editor.
"Georg was a very accurate writer and as a columnist, you had to come up with something every day," Owen said. "He used to write six columns a week and sometimes seven because he would write one for the early Sunday edition that came out on Saturdays and then replace it when a game ended."
Mr. Meyers is survived by his wife, Norma, of Seattle; daughter, Janine Steffan and her husband Rob, of SeaTac; son Troy and his wife, Phyllis, of Poulsbo.
The body will be cremated and at his request, there won't be a funeral.
Craig Smith: 206-464-8279 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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