Beth Jeanette Myers passed away peacefully on September 10, 2022, surrounded by her children and holding the hand of her husband of 49 years. She was born July 3, 1950 in Topeka, KS, the daughter of Raymond J. and Betty Jo (Holm) Furneaux. She leaves behind her husband Brandon L. Myers of Auburn, daughter Brooke Smith and her husband Todd and their son Toby of Topeka, daughter Katie Tenbrink and her husband Tyler and their 4 children Brody, Harper, Eli, and Nathan of Auburn, and son Ben Myers and his wife Heather and their daughter Charlie and son on the way, Arthur of Denver, CO.
As a young girl, Beth lived on a farm northeast of Auburn, KS where she had memories of rolling down the large hill and riding through the fields. After that, her family moved to Burlingame, KS where she attended Burlingame Elementary School. Next, her family moved to Lawrence, KS where they lived in a turn of the century home in a historic district and she would remember the wrap around porch and walking to Mass Street. Later, her family moved back to Topeka where she attended Jardine Junior High and Washburn Rural High School. In high school, Beth was active in the percussion section of the band playing the glockenspiel and other instruments, the spirit squad, Future Teachers of America, and was nominated for Queen of Courts. Beth remembered fondly the summers spent at the family farm in Moran, KS and time spent with her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins.
She and her husband “Brandy” met at Washburn Rural High School where they quickly became sweethearts. When Brandy first saw her, it was love at first sight. They had their first date on October 10, 1967. They were “going steady” by November. When Beth was asked how Brandy proposed, she would answer it was just always assumed. It had become obvious that Beth and Brandy were made for each other. They were married in Topeka on May 10th, 1973. At her passing, they were one month away from the 55 year anniversary of their first date. Their 50th wedding anniversary would have been May 10, 2023.
Beth received an education degree from Washburn University in 1972 where she was also a member of the Delta Gamma sorority. She did post graduate work at the University of Kansas and other institutions.
Beth was a teacher. She began her teaching career as a kindergarten teacher at Burlingame Elementary School, the same school she attended as a child. After that she taught at The Topeka Education Center, Capper Foundation, and several schools within USD 501 Topeka Public School including Shaner and McClure Elementary Schools, and French Middle School. She concluded her career as a consulting teacher for the district. She was previously recognized with an award as an outstanding educator. The presenter at the awards ceremony stated “Beth could teach anything, and did teach anything.” She retired in 2010, and thereafter worked as a consultant for both Topeka Public and Auburn Washburn school districts.
Beth’s love and talent for teaching extended well beyond her career. She loved teaching her own children and grandchildren, as well as helping and advocating for other children in the area who needed her. She helped administer the Myers Scholarship Fund for Washburn Rural High School graduating seniors. Her passion was special education and advocating for kids with special needs. She did this professionally for 38 years, but never stopped even after retiring. Beth encountered former students everywhere she went. Even days before she passed, a person at the hospital recognized her as being their “favorite teacher.” As an educator, she touched and improved the lives of countless children in Topeka and beyond.
In 1974, Beth and Brandy purchased land in southwest Shawnee County just outside of Auburn, KS, near both Beth’s first childhood home and where Brandy’s family resided previously. In 1978 they completed construction on their dream home where they lived and raised their family and Beth called home until her passing. Like the lyrics of one of her favorite songs, “Somewhere”, Beth and Brandy considered this home the perfect “someplace for us.” They were proud to be able to return the families to the Auburn area.
After her first grandchild was born in 2007, Beth spent every moment she could with them. She chose to be called Nana in honor of her grandmother who was called the same, whom she was very close to and admired. She attended every single sporting event, concert, recital, poetry reading, school parade, classroom party, art show, field trip, and any event they were involved in. She would drop anything to babysit. She truly understood how valuable every second with them was and was 100% engaged whenever she was with them. Her grandchildren remember “Nana days” when they didn’t have school and spent the day with them and she would take them out to lunch, bowling, the zoo, the park and shopping. They remember nature walks, playing games, cooking and baking, gardening, making playdoh, getting the mail, filling the birdfeeders, metal detecting, playing with pets, playing pretend at the outdoor play kitchen, pretending to drive places in the outdoor play vehicles, carving jack-o-lanterns on the living room floor, pizza parties by the pool, reading, and just talking. Nana loved to play a game with them where she would ask them a math, spelling, geography, or history question while at the pool, and they would answer it as they jumped in the water. She loved looking at the clouds with them and talking about the different shapes she saw and wanted one of them to make a book someday about cloud shapes. During the Covid pandemic, she created a scavenger hunt for them where she wrote a special poem for each child with clues for them to find a hint that when all combined spelled out a special surprise planned for them. She always told them “I really loved watching you play.”
As a mom, she loved her kids and their spouses unconditionally. As children they remember the summers spent at home with her since she was a teacher, special meals she would make, singing in the mini-van with friends while she chauffeured them around, picnics on the prairie, hosting slumber parties, and her leading scouts and 4-H. As adults she was so happy to answer the phone every time they called, replied to every text, never forgot a birthday or anniversary, always checked in to make sure they were home safe after every trip, and followed up on the status of every medical appointment. She helped with their children, their homes, supported all their career aspirations and efforts, and gave the best advice. They enjoyed “OM5” (original Myers 5) nights out with just Mom, Dad and three kids after the kids were grown with families of their own. She told them “Please strive for these values: honesty, kindness, compassion, equality, treating others the way you want to be treated, and helping others in need.” They will forever miss her and strive to follow her example of love and kindness, and continue her legacy of supporting and loving each other and their families.
As a wife to Brandy, she was part of a team. They took care of their large home and land together and shared the work. They raised their children and hosted and loved their friends. She attended all of Brandy’s band concerts. They had many pets including dogs, cats, hamsters, fish, ducks, and geese. Along with Brandy’s father Charlie Myers, they grew large vegetable gardens every year. They cared for their aging parents and grieved their loss. They celebrated holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries, and started many traditions that will be carried on by her children for generations to come. They created a home that is a place of love and cherished memories for many souls.
Beth was a staunch Democrat, who voted in every single election and actively contacted her elected officials to express her feelings on important issues. She served as an elected Democratic Precinct Committeewoman for North Mission Township before moving back to the Auburn area.
Beth loved the Chiefs and KU football and basketball.
She loved wildflowers and learning the history and medicinal uses of all. Her favorite wildflower was spiderwort. She enjoyed walking in nature and identifying the flowers and looking for animal tracks and other treasures.
She looked forward to her regular lunch outings with her friends from her teaching days and was so happy to maintain strong friendships with friends from high school.
She enjoyed driving and listening to music, especially Broadway show tunes.
She liked to play the piano and was a skilled pianist.
She loved treasure hunting and enjoyed metal detecting as a hobby. She would find old artifacts and imagine the lives of the people who left them.
She enjoyed playing online scrabble and making friends from around the world.
She cared deeply for nature and the environment. She created bee habitats, befriended and cared for wild crows. Her closest crow companion she named Gladys. She cared for all the wild creatures and fed the opossums, racoons, squirrels, and birds. She gave them all names and would watch for them to come visit each day. She would never kill a snake, spider, or any insect or critter.
The pond at their house is stocked with catfish, who she fed every day and named as many as can be identified. She loved cats and always had house cats as well as feeding the wild cats in the area.
She created many holiday traditions including lasagna for Brandy’s birthday, special Halloween and Easter baskets for the grandkids, a birthday gift of $100 plus your age, inscribed books for each kid at Christmas, your choice of special chocolate cake or dirt cake for your birthday, Christmas crackers when a Brit joined the family, lottery scratch offs under everyone’s plate at holiday dinners, a yule log cake dessert at Christmas that each grandchild would help sprinkle “snow” (powdered sugar) on while making a special wish for the new year, and allowing her family to take her out for margaritas and Mexican food on her birthday.
Her well cared for flower beds include heirloom irises and peonies from both her and Brandy’s grandmothers. Her beloved house plants include an 80 plus year old mother spider plant and Christmas cactus from her grandmother.
She loved unsweetened ice tea, watermelon, and honey mustard dressing.
She liked toffee, Andes Mints, and coconut chocolates.
She loved the color yellow and hated the color orange.
She loved the Chiefs and hated the Broncos.
She did not care for horses.
She loved all Broadway music, but especially Sondheim’s A Little Night Music and West Side Story.
She liked treasure hunting shows, puzzle games, and entering contests.
She always fell asleep in movie theaters, but still could not leave until every single credit was complete.
She liked canning and making jelly.
She enjoyed sitting on the porch swing watching nature.
She got motion sick just looking at a carnival ride.
She always had a bag of umbrellas with her to share at ballgames.
Her absolute favorite past time was doing anything with her children and grandchildren.
Beth was the very best wife, Mom, Nana, friend, and teacher any person could ever hope for. She was the very definition of selfless. She gave 100% of herself to her family and others who needed her. Her loss leaves a void that can never be filled. She leaves a legacy that will never be forgotten. Words cannot describe how lucky we were to have her as our family and how much Brandy and her family will miss her. Thank you Nana Beth for being with us and being the beautiful, wonderful person that you were. We will always love you.
A Celebration of Beth’s Life will be held at a later date. Dove Cremations and Funerals ~ Southwest Chapel, 3700 SW Wanamaker Rd., Topeka, KS 66610 is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Beth Myers Memorial Fund at Capper Foundation, 3500 SW 10th Ave., Topeka, KS 66604.
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