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C.D. "Dad" Meyers

C.D. "Dad" Meyers: Custodian of Coe

In the halls of old Coe College
Of the great and famed Coe College
Stands our Prof of Dust and Ashes
Mr. Myers of dust-pan fame.
How he sweeps and dusts and shovels,
How he rakes and mows the campus,
How he yells for old Coe College,
For the great and famed Coe College.

C.D. Myers was a simple man, born in Ohio in 1842 and raised on a farm in Iowa. He enlisted in the army, soon after the civil war broke out, as a member of Company D of the 28th Iowa Infantry.  Having completed his military service, he moved to a farm with his wife near Blairstown, and then they moved to Cedar Rapids to provide their children with a better education.

"Dad" Myers first began work as a custodian at the college in 1893, when Coe was nothing more than Old Main and Williston Hall. He saw changes through the years, as chapel services moved from third floor of the Main building to Sinclair chapel, where he was in regular attendance. There was a special chair reserved for "Dad" in the rear of the chapel and the Cosmos reported in 1924 that "no monitor was necessary to check up on his attendance."

Known for his lawn care, Myers would instruct students at the beginning of each school term to keep off the grass. "Then, as if by magic, fences spring up across the places where people have been accustomed to make short cuts, and flower beds are dug up and planted. Soon comes the time when Mr. Myers can show his true worth. When this green grass springs up and begins to lengthen, then his portly form may been seen calmly and serenely following the lawn lower as it makes its regular trips across the campus...thus comes our beautiful campus," The Acorn, 1903.

There was a great deal of love and respect for this man, pictured in the Acorn as an older gentleman, with a black hat to keep out the sun, a large handlebar mustache and a hose in hand, carefully spraying the lawn of Old Main. "Dad" was responsible waking students from their slumber by banging a snare drum and then ringing the victory bell to celebrate the signing of the armistice, it is said he was "wise" to college pranks without number, and that, in all his years here, he has never made an enemy. In fact, an entire chapel period was dedicated to him on his eightieth birthday, where he was presented, by the faculty, with a shiny gold watch fob with a Grand Army of the Republic emblem emblazoned on it as well as a cake from the Cosmos staff.

Always in demand, "frequent calls are made upon our worthy friend for assistance." The 1903 Acorn reported. "One of the girls must have some help, for she is changing her room again...Another must have the bed nailed up for they had a scrap on it and it collapsed. Down the hall comes the cry, 'Where's Mr. Myers! Can I borrow your screwdriver?' Another one asks, 'Can I take your keys a minute?' Then along comes a Professor with 'Where's Mr. Myers? I want to see him.' " In constant demand, "Dad" had a few joys, those being swapping stories with the boys in the print shop and rooting for Coe's athletes.

A dedicated fan, Myers wouldn't even let retirement keep him from the games. After twenty-nine years of service to the college, "Dad" retired at the age of eighty. He had been suffering from rheumatism for several months, which made it difficult for him to perform his janitorial duties and attend the Coe athletic events. In his retirement, it was arranged for him to attend games by automobile. He was provided with the best seat in the house, as the car was to be parked on the field in order for "Dad" to be able to see the game. "I never miss a game if I can help it," says this most enthusiastic fan in the October 11,1923 Cosmos. "There’s nothing I enjoy more."

This dedicated fan and servant of the college passed away February 21 of 1924 from old age and complications of rheumatism. Though " 'Dad' was far from being a college professor or a college trustee," a cosmos editorial stated, "he was truly a scholar, a graduate of the university of men. Old grads will remember him alongside Dr. Burkhalter, as outstanding men...whom they cam in touch with at Coe. They will remember his kindness of manner, his friendly advice, his reminiscences of the Coe of old, and his never-failing optimism as far as Coe and Coe athletics was concerned. Coe misses 'Dad.' "

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