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Massapequa Loses A Native Son

John H. Meyer July 29, 1933 - October 14, 2013

It has been said that it’s not the dates, but the years between that count, and so it is with Massapequa born and bred John Herman Meyer; who leaves a heritage in which he had, and we have, good reason to be proud. Local ancestry dating back to 1866, when his grandparents emigrated from Germany and grandfather Henry farmed Floyd-Jones land south of Merrick Road - today’s John Burns Park. It was there that John’s father, John Hugo, his twin Henry and their brother Herman were reared to enter into the growth of this community. When the farm district, north on Hicksville Road was still flourishing in the 1930s and 40s, feeding and flowering the Massapequas and beyond, the Meyer boys with over 30 acres were there, too.  

John Hugo and Madeline (nee Ultsch) Meyer were married in 1927; he built their home on rural Parkhill Avenue where young John and his sisters, Ruthie and Madeline/Susie, grew up in close proximity to family farms. John, driving a tractor on the farm and along Hicksville Road at 10 years old, later wrote, “It was a dream come true.”  Attending the only Massapequa School (Fairfield) and Amityville High, he loved where he lived, combining a country past with a need to assure the future and its growth. After graduation, working with his father, carpentry was his trade.

Drafted in 1953 during the Korean War, he was selected to be in the Military Police. “MP’s” he said, “were the best outfit to be in.” When the war came to an end while Dwight Eisenhower was in office, John’s pride in an occasion when he was chosen as part of a security group to guard the president, was steeped in his love of country.

Ann Schlegel and John Meyer married in Old Grace Church in 1954, after stateside service in the military, they returned to Massapequa; in time he built the second Meyer house on Parkhill Avenue. He and Ann were blessed with 2 daughters Dotty Ann and Lori Ann. A loving and most supportive family man, he continued to work with his dad as a builder-contractor, until eventually starting on his own. Massapequa and its vicinity, like the wildflowers replaced, is replete with construction by John H. Meyer.   

An avid  Mets Fan, baseball was his game. Serving the Massapequas, as a member of the Republican Club, Chamber of Commerce, Historical Society, Kiwanis (for 53 years) all in leadership positions local and state-wide. Appointed to the staff of New York State Assemblymen Philip Healey, politics in Albany afforded New York Governor Rockefeller the opportunity to meet Massapequa’s John H. Meyer. John’s expert knowledge of Massapequa history also made him a valued member of the Town of Oyster Bay’s Historical Commission and so much mroe. A frequent contributor to the Massapequa Observer, his country comfortable style of writing was self-learned, as was his ability with public relations. Through his efforts, historic buildings were preserved,  the Kiwanis Bridge was built on Clark Boulevard and recently, on his 80th birthday, was rededicated in his name. John’s thumb in the pie was certain to produce a plum. And through it all, he and Ann made time to travel extensively at home and abroad.

Ann died in 2009, John, suffering the loss, was strengthened by his love of family, friends, and community ‑ and theirs of him.  

Among his many credits, John H. Meyer was known for his old fashioned daring to take on a project from scratch and make it work, his country boy-made-good attitude, and the God bless America ways in which his living made a positive difference.  His mark and his memory will continue to make the spirit of the Massapequa’s shine.

“I like to see a man who is proud of the place in which he lives. I like to see a man live so that his place will be proud of him.” ‑ Abraham Lincoln