Derek Stimpert Myers, associate professor emeritus in Virginia Tech's College of Architecture and Urban Studies, past head of the Department of Art and Art History and a resident of Blacksburg, died Monday, Feb. 23, 2009, at Lewis-Gale Hospital. He was 72.
“Derek Myers was a valued and respected leader and teacher in our school for more than 35 years. He was gentle and caring individual — always helping and mentoring students in the career path of art and design. On numerous occasions, he would visit me at my office, offering support in regard to our new direction within the School of Visual Arts. I learned a great deal from Derek and I will miss his advice and visits,” said Truman Capone, School of Visual Arts director.
Myers was instrumental in the establishment of the Arts Extravaganza Art Auction held in the early 1980s. This event generated a collaboration with the town and community connection to the arts. He was an accomplished painter who enjoyed sharing his talent and creative skills with his students. His recent work on the Blacksburg Town Council was a testament to his dedication to community.
Myers taught at Virginia Tech from 1973 to 2003. Before coming to Virginia Tech, he taught at Knox College and St. Andrews Presbyterian College. A native of Galva, Ill., Myers received a bachelor’s degree from Knox College and a master’s degree in painting from the Iowa State University.
Derek Myers is survived by his wife, Rhoda, and their two adult children. His legacy lives on through an established scholarship in his name in the School of Visual Arts.
A service in memory and thanksgiving will be held at 3 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 26, 2009, at Luther Memorial Lutheran Church in Blacksburg. Myers was an avid gardener and loved flowers, but also loved helping people. A good way to honor his memory would be gifts in lieu of flowers to Valley Interfaith Child Care Center, 950 Heather Drive, NW, Blacksburg, VA 24060; Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy, P.O. Box 12516, Richmond, VA 23241; or Luther Memorial Lutheran Church, 600 Prices Fork Road, NW, Blacksburg, VA 24060. McCoy Funeral Home, Blacksburg, Va., is in charge of arrangements.