Barbara Myers was a star. That’s what her family said.

“She was famous,” daughter Jaymie Spencer said. “Not like a celebrity, but someone who everybody knew.”

Spencer said she got on a plane in 1986 to fly to Portugal and someone asked her, “Are you Barbara Myers’ daughter?” At the Western Wall in Jerusalem, someone approached Mrs. Myers and said, “Barbara Myers, is that you?”

“I was never me,” Spencer said with a chuckle. “I was always Barbara’s daughter. My family has large personalities.”

Mrs. Myers, 82, died Thursday, May 28, of complications of the coronavirus at Lions Gate retirement community in Voorhees. She had been living there for seven years.

Mrs. Myers grew up on Florence Avenue in Southwest Philadelphia and later lived on Park Avenue in East Oak Lane. Her older brother, Joe Ball, said he recalls their father carrying his newborn sister into the house swaddled in a hospital blanket.

Mrs. Myers’ home became a meeting place for the family, and she was known for her holiday buffets.
Courtey of the Myers family
Mrs. Myers’ home became a meeting place for the family, and she was known for her holiday buffets.

She graduated from Olney High School. With younger sisters Dana and Jayne, she was known around town as one of the popular Ball sisters. “They called each other every day for years,” Joe Ball said.

Ball and his three younger sisters were close. He even went to Mrs. Myers’ first job interview to make sure the company was respectable. He washed the dishes after family dinners, and Mrs. Myers dried.

Later, the family moved to Emerald Avenue in Haddon Township, and Mrs. Myers’ parents, Milton and Beatrice, hosted her wedding to Gary Myers in their home. She walked down the stairs to meet her future husband and family guests, and the newlyweds hopped a bus to New York for the honeymoon.

The couple settled in Cherry Hill, and daughters Jaymie and Barrie came along. Atlantic City was a favorite summer spot for the family, and they still talk about times at Tony’s Baltimore Grill on Atlantic Avenue, and Lou’s in Ventnor.

Mrs. Myers’ home became a meeting place for the family, and she was known for her holiday buffets. One year at Thanksgiving, her oven broke down, so the hungry diners whiled away three hours on penny poker as Mrs. Myers cooked the bird at a neighbor’s house.

Warm and outgoing, Mrs. Myers made friends everywhere. She served as president of Temple Emanuel Sisterhood in Cherry Hill, and worked for many years as a manager in a women’s boutique. She especially liked tongue and liverwurst sandwiches from Hymie’s Deli in Merion.

“She was so active and so vibrant,” said sister-in-law Sandy Ball. “Everybody loved her.”

Sandy met Mrs. Myers for the first time when Joe brought Sandy home to meet the family.

“She was so welcoming. She said, ‘You’re now one of my sisters,‘” Sandy said.

Mrs. Myers and husband Gary often hosted the family at holiday parties.
Courtesy of the Myers family
Mrs. Myers and husband Gary often hosted the family at holiday parties.

Mrs. Myers was married for 55 years until her husband’s death in 2013. He worked for Radio Corp. of America in Camden and later opened a business in building management services.

In addition to her daughters and siblings, Mrs. Myers is survived by two grandchildren and other relatives.

She was buried at Crescent Memorial Park in Pennsauken.

— Gary Miles, gmiles@inquirer.com