By Gus Pearcy
Richard K. “Rick” Myers, 59, co-owner of Grow Local Media, died peacefully Oct. 14 at his Avon home surrounded by his family following a long illness. He was the publisher of the Hendricks County ICON, Hendricks County Business Leader, Center Grove ICON and The Southside Times and a dedicated public servant to many Central Indiana communities.
Myers was a visionary with an unbridled passion for newspapers. He believed content was king. He encouraged new ideas but generated many assignments through his conversations with people in the community. Myers could talk to anyone about anything. He gave voice to the community and drew them closer via a hyper-local publication mailed free to everyone.
He appreciated a great photo and clever layout. He instinctively knew what people wanted to read and delivered it each issue.
But his heart was his wife Catherine and family.
Born Oct. 22, 1961, in Indianapolis to the late Robert and Mary Ellen Myers, Rick grew up just outside of Haughville in Wayne Township. Fascinated with newspapers, when the family went on vacation, the first thing he would do in a new town is ask his dad for money to go buy a local newspaper.
“I learned early on that the newspaper was a mirror of the community,” Myers said in a podcast recorded in April. Listen to the entire recording at http://myhcicon.com/podcast-episode-13
Years later, staff remembers him bringing back stacks of newspapers from his trips for them to review.
One of his earliest jobs was as a newspaper carrier for the Indianapolis News and Indianapolis Star. He worked his way up to station captain, ensuring the shopping circulars and coupons were inserted in every Sunday paper.
As a senior at Crispus Attucks High School, he worked in the Indianapolis Star and News mailroom, moved up to copy boy before he was a sports clerk taking scores by phone on Friday nights and always said it was one of his favorite jobs.
Myers graduated from Vincennes University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism with a photography emphasis from Ball State University. Later, he earned a master’s degree in youth development from Kansas State University.
He worked as a sportswriter at then new The Greenwood Gazette where he met his longtime friend and business partner Brian Kelly. The experience taught him how to launch a newspaper.
“No one had a greater passion for our industry than Rick, and that’s why he was so successful,” Kelly said. “Nothing made him happier than serving the community, his customers and his readers. Above all else, he fiercely loved his family and was so proud of them.”
Myers also served as the City of Carmel press secretary in the late Mayor Ted Johnson’s administration as well as at Westfield Washington Schools where he launched a media relations and communications effort.
After Greenwood was sold to Central Newspapers, Myers eventually transferred to the former Hendricks County Flyer. In 2005 he and Kelly launched the Hendricks County Business Leader under the corporate publishing group Times-Leader Publications. The company also purchased The Southside Times, a publication that served southern Marion County and expanded to northern Johnson County under Myers.
Since then in an era when many newspapers were shuttering and shrinking, Myers created general news publications, the Hendricks County ICON and Center Grove ICON. His motto was always content is king, and he demonstrated with every issue in each community served.
Beyond the newsroom, Myers served his communities. He was a leader in the Kiwanis Club of Avon, Rotary Club of Greenwood and Knights of Columbus St. Malachy Council 12540. He was named Range Line Pioneer (Carmel) in 1995 and received the Avon Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Professional Award in 2009. Leadership Hendricks County recently honored Myers with the Suzanne Whicker Distinguished Service Award.
In 2020, Myers was named in Editor & Publisher magazine’s inaugural 15 Over 50: Honoring the Leaders Driving the News Industry Forward. They chose 15 U.S. publishers over the age of 50 who demonstrate a passion and optimism for the news industry who described important lessons learned while working in the industry and predictions for where journalism is heading.
He served as board president for Aspire (formerly the chamber of commerce for greater Greenwood) as well as the Hendricks College Network.
Myers loved rocking out to metal music, which he always thought came as a surprise to people. He loved sports and was an avid fan of open-wheel racing, going to as many races as he could, especially the Indianapolis 500 as well as Kansas State athletics and the Chicago White Sox.
His survivors include his wife of 25 years, Catherine, daughters Catie and Mary, son Rory, grandson Liam and brother Michael Boyd. As news of Myers’ passing reaches the community, we all can easily see what he meant to Hendricks and Johnson counties.
Services for Rick Myers were held at 10:30 a.m. Oct. 20 at St. Malachy Catholic Church, Brownsburg. Visitation was 4-7 p.m. Oct. 19 at Matthews Mortuary, Brownsburg.
The family requests donations be made to the Avon Kiwanis, 5252 E. Main St., Avon, IN 46123, attention Linda Jenks; or to the Alzheimer’s Association.