John H. Meyer

WINDHAM — John Hornblower Meyer, 92, died at home of heart failure on Nov. 29, 2011.

The son of Alfred R. Meyer and Helen Hornblower Meyer, John was born in Belmont, Mass., on Nov. 20, 1919. He graduated from Milton Academy in 1938 and Yale University in 1942.

While at Yale, he was a member of the swimming team, including the 1942 squad that won the NCAA championship. In that meet, John swam and medaled in the 200-yard breaststroke, utilizing the newly devised dolphin kick that later became part of the butterfly stroke.

After graduation, John joined the Army, rising to the rank of Captain in the 694th Quartermaster Truck Company, serving primarily in England during World War II.
John earned his MBA at Harvard Business School in 1947. He spent his entire professional career at United Shoe Machinery Corporation in Boston. At the time of his retirement in 1972, he was a Vice President and the company’s Chief Financial Officer.

From 1947 to 1977, John lived in Cohasset, Mass., and was active in local affairs, serving on the school board, vestry of St. Stephens Episcopal Church, and the boards of the South Shore Community Center and Cohasset Yacht Club. He was instrumental in establishing the Cohasset Swim Center. He also served as chairman of the board of The Boys and Girls Camps of Boston, president of the Treasurers Club of Boston, and trustee of Plimoth Plantation, which was established on land bequeathed by his maternal grandparents. He was an incorporator of the Boston Five Cents Savings Bank, Massachusetts General Hospital, and the New England Deaconess Hospital.

Always attuned to our nation’s heritage, John was a member of the Union Club of Boston, Forty-Nine Club, Sons of the American Revolution, and the Boston Athenaeum.

John moved to Windham in 1977, fulfilling a life-long dream of farming, while remaining active in civic causes, including the local Boy Scout Troop and Kiwanis club.

John had an abiding love of the ocean and sailing, including membership in the Blue Water Sailing Club. He played tennis and golf for decades, never quite reaching his goal of breaking 100. With his wife Patty, he engaged in numerous elder hostel excursions, developing a commitment to Native American culture.

Most of all, he enjoyed spending time with his extensive family, orchestrating sportive activities at his Mt. Desert Island, and later Frye Island, summerhouses; presiding over grand reminiscences at birthday and Thanksgiving gatherings, and holding spirited discussions about current affairs. Throughout his life, he maintained his conservative fiscal values, while supporting community engagement and encouraging younger generations to hold on to their idealism.
John is survived by his wife, Patricia (Darling); as well as his 11 children/stepchildren: William Burnham of Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., Robert Burnham of Sewickley, Pa., John H. Meyer Jr. of West Rockport and Littleton, N.H., Peter Meyer of East Falmouth, Mass., August Meyer of Randolph, Vt., Sarah Woodhead of Pomfret, Vt., Harriott Shea of East Montpelier, Vt., Dorothy Storrow of Gill, Mass., Christopher Hidell of Hull, Mass., Bennett Hidell of Windham, Brooke Hidell and Jessica Shivik of South Casco; 17 grandchildren; four great-grandchildren; and many nieces and nephews.
He was predeceased by his parents; and his siblings, Janet Lowrey, Robert Meyer, and Alfred R. Meyer Jr.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, at the Windham Hill United Church of Christ, with the Rev. Dr. Richard Muir and the Rev. Sally Colegrove officiating.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Dolby Funeral Chapels in Windham. Burial will be at a later date at the family plot in Mt. Auburn Cemetery in Cambridge, Mass.
In lieu of flowers, donations in John’s honor may be made to one of the following organizations: Plimoth Plantation (, Cohasset Swim Center, P.O. Box 132, Cohasset, MA 02025 or Windham Hill United Church of Christ, 140 Windham Center Rd., Windham, ME 04062.

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