by Anne Blue, photography by Phil Grout
WHO: A true Carroll County native, Don Myers grew up in Westminster, graduated from Westminster High School, married his wife, Gail, and raised his children here while running the family business, Stu’s Music Shop.
Myers earned his music degree from Peabody Conservatory of Music and studied music education at Indiana University. He spent a few years teaching instrumental music in Carroll County Public Schools but when Myers was 24 his father died unexpectedly so Don and his younger brother, Larry, stepped in to keep their father’s business running.
The Myers brothers ran the well-known local music shop successfully for the next 41 years until they sold the business in 2013.
After decades of work, most people would be ready to kick back and enjoy retirement, but Don Myers was ready to embark on a new profession.
WHAT: Last October, Myers began his second career as “Chaplain Don,” the Associate Chaplain at Carroll Lutheran Village (CLV), a retirement community in Westminster.
Now Myers spends two days a week providing pastoral care for the residents and others associated with Carroll Lutheran Village. He assists Chaplain Jimmie Schwartz with planning and conducting weekly worship services, he teaches classes for residents, and uses his music background to lead a residents’ choir which performs several times a year.
“My biggest transition was going from being a daily problem solver as a small-business owner to being a problem processor with people,” explained Myers.
“As an Associate Chaplain, I don’t give advice or solutions,” said Myers. “I have to be nonjudgmental and listen to others, help them to process their feelings and emotions, and support people by guiding them to discover what is important to them at this stage of their lives.”
While Myers views his new career as his dream job, it was not a sudden change for him.
WOW: Throughout his adult life, Myers was an active participant in the ministries of his congregation, Grace Lutheran Church, in Westminster.
“Through these ministries, I developed a strong interest in providing care to people who were experiencing a crisis in their lives,” explained Myers. “God seemed to put more of these types of people and situations in my life and that led me to realize that pastoral care is where God was calling me to serve.”
To fulfill this calling from God and make his dream a reality, Myers had to go back to graduate school at age 67.
“I always believe in being a lifelong learner,” said Myers, “so I was never afraid about going back to school. I was excited to continue learning and I knew that all my life experiences would help me towards my goal.”
Soon after selling the music store in July of 2013, Myers began working towards a Masters of Arts in Ministerial Studies at Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg. He completed pastoral internships, took classes, studied, and wrote lots of papers. Myers gives his wife credit for supporting his efforts by proofreading and critiquing hundreds of pages of his papers.
“It was difficult but stimulating and the teachers were excellent,” said Myers. “I like to say that I didn’t have the highest grade point in my Seminary class, but I did rank highest in age.”
Myers completed his degree in May of 2016 and was consecrated as a Deacon in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. The Bishop of the Delaware-Maryland Synod subsequently assigned Myers to serve with the chaplaincy staff at Carroll Lutheran Village, where he was officially installed in May as Associate Chaplain.
Now Don Myers is in just the right place to enjoy his second career as Chaplain Don, and fulfill his personal calling from God to serve the church and others.