Chamber to honor local couple with Musgrove Evans Award
Director of the Tecumseh Area Chamber of Commerce Vicki Philo announced that the selection panel has named Tom and Jeannette Meyer as this year’s Musgrove Evans Award recipients.
“They are a good choice for the award,” Philo said. “Both Tom and Jeannette have contributed greatly to Tecumseh as teachers and, even though they are retired now, they continue to help the youth of the community in many ways.”
The Meyers were predictably humble about their selection. “I answered the phone and thought Vicki [Philo] was going to ask me to speak at the award dinner for the recipient, like I did for Mary Tommelein when she received the award,” Tom said. “I was surprised when she told me that we were the recipients.”
Jeannette was equally incredulous. “I couldn’t believe it,” she said. “There are a lot of people more deserving, but we are incredibly honored to be named.”
Both teachers began their careers at the now decommissioned Ridgeway Elementary School, which is where the couple met. Tom began teaching fifth grade at Ridgeway in 1967, straight out of Adrian College. Jeannette started her career there in 1971 as a fourth grade teacher. After they married, Jeanette transferred to Tecumseh Acres Elementary School, where she remained until retirement, teaching with a staff that included her sister, Patricia Northrup.
When Ridgeway was closed in a consolidation move by Tecumseh Public Schools, Tom went to Patterson Elementary School and later to Herrick Park, before moving to Tecumseh Middle School when the fifth grade was incorporated in that building.
Tom said that he was already thinking about retiring in 2007. “One of the things that helped push me toward that decision was when I found out that I was teaching the grand-daughter of one of my former students,” he said. Jeannette decided that would be a good time for her to put away her grade book, too. “She didn’t want me to be home alone,” Tom joked.
The Meyers have no children of their own, but both agreed that their careers had kept them closely connected to children beyond simply teaching them. “Our students have always been our children,” Jeannette said. “We have always cared about each of them like they were our own, and even though we’re retired now, we’re very involved with students still.”
One of the activities that keeps them in contact with youth, and with each other, is the Tecumseh Pops Orchestra and Community Chorus. Jeannette plays the clarinet in the orchestra and Tom is in the chorus. Jeannette has also been on the Pops Board for 30 years.
“The great thing about the Chorus and Pops is that we stay in contact with several of our former students who are also members,” said Tom. “Right now, I’m playing with one of my former fourth graders,” Jeannette said. The Meyers, along with the other musicians in the two groups, perform regularly together for concerts at the Tecumseh Center for the Arts. The spring concert is scheduled for Sunday, May 5.
Other youth-oriented clubs and activities that demonstrate Tom’s dedication to the youth of the community include: board member for the Communities in Schools of the Tecumseh Area, Kiwanis Club member in charge of fund raising to provide scholarships for youth, volunteer as a Lunch Buddy in the elementaries, volunteered countless hours as the middle school’s Builders’ Club advisor (a club sponsored by the Kiwanis), Hixon Award winner for community service, volunteer at the Porter Center, board member of the Tecumseh Center for the Arts and assists with events there, and volunteers as a HOPE mentor in the elementary schools to tutor students. The list goes on.
Jeannette’s list of continuing service is equally impressive. In addition to the activities already mentioned, she is also treasurer for Tecumseh Pops, tutors band students for their solo ensemble performances, and is also a HOPE mentor in local elementaries.
The anonymous selection committee summed up the personalities and commitment to youth of the Meyers in its announcement of the recipients: “Tom is always connecting with kids. He cares deeply about our youth, and Jeannette is very passionate about learning and giving to others. She is a cheerleader for Tecumseh.”
The date and location of the award dinner for the Musgrove Evans Award recipients is yet to be determined, but when the information is available the details will be announced.