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‘His humility was a superpower’: Haas professor emeritus John Myers dies at 89

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KARLYNE REILLY | COURTESY

Myers first arrived at UC Berkeley in 1964 with his wife Arlyn Myers, campus lecturer emeritus of chemistry.

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OCTOBER 27, 2022

John Myers, a professor emeritus at UC Berkeley’s Haas School of Business, died Oct. 14 in Oakland, California, at the age of 89.

Myers first arrived at UC Berkeley in 1964 with his wife Arlyn Myers, campus lecturer emeritus of chemistry. Both felt strongly connected to campus and were proud to call it home.

Arlyn said her husband was always happy to attend ASUC board meetings that ran late and enjoyed learning from speakers on Sproul Plaza during the Free Speech Movement.

“We felt so strongly that UC Berkeley was our home,” Arlyn Myers said. “It’s where we belonged. It’s where we wanted to raise our family.”

Myers was humorous and kind, and was always promoting education for his family and other young people, according to Myers’ wife. She said he was someone whom others could go to when they were struggling.

Michal Strahilevitz, co-director of the Executive Doctorate in Business Administration program at Saint Mary’s College of California, said she went to John Myers many times for support and help in managing her “imposter syndrome” while writing her dissertation at UC Berkeley. She remembers him as being joyful and empathetic.

“The thing that makes a good professor a great professor is that they’re also supporting students emotionally and not just intellectually as a whole person,” Strahilevitz said. “He was a reducer of sadness and an increaser of happiness.”

John and Arlyn Myers’ daughters Karlyne Reilly and Amanda Myers both emphasized their father’s ability to foster a sense of belonging. Amanda Myers said she was always impressed by his global reach and the respect directed to him from colleagues worldwide.

Reilly recalled his creativity and what John Myers called his “nothing room,” a space where he kept things he wished to build and fix. She said he was constantly thinking about how to improve the world and took the family on exploration road trips with ABBA and Dolly Parton soundtracks.

“By deeply listening to other people and being humble enough to be willing to be wrong, and be willing to try and generate something with somebody else rather than dominating other people, I think that was his absolute genius and brilliance,” Amanda said.

David Aaker, a professor emeritus at campus’s Haas School of Business, said Myers had a calming influence and was well-liked by all his colleagues and students.

Rajeev Batra, a professor of marketing at the University of Michigan, noted how Myers reached and influenced many generations of students both through his teaching and through the textbook they wrote together, “Advertising Management.”

“The reason his career is so profoundly impactful is his capacity to generate and work with other people,” Amanda Myers said. “His humility was a superpower.”

John Myers is survived by his wife Arlyn and his children Amanda, Karlyne Reilly and Shawn Myers. He is also survived by his grandchildren Jordan Reilly, Megan Reilly, John Myers and Katherine Myers.

Contact Ella Carter-Klauschie at 

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OCTOBER 28, 2022