Note: This story was last updated at 3:30 p.m.
Tim Myrick, one of the area’s most active community volunteers, died Sunday morning. He was at home with his wife Teresa by his side.
Friends are remembering him as a model community leader and volunteer. Myrick, who had been battling prostate cancer, had provided decades of service to the church and to Aid to Distressed Families of Appalachian Counties, or ADFAC, as well as to Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County. He played a key role in the renovation of Oak Ridge High School and modernization work at Oak Ridge National Laboratory. In 2012, he and Teresa pledged $25,000 to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation’s “Making the Critical Difference” campaign for grants and scholarships.
“We sure lost a strong advocate for our community,” said friend D. Ray Smith, who serves on both the ADFAC and Habitat for Humanity boards.
Myrick was also on the board of directors for Living Waters, a charity that builds clean water systems in underserved areas such as Haiti but also in East Tennessee, and he and Teresa ran Jericho Farms and supported the Oak Ridge Farmers Market for more than a decade.
“He’s just such an inspiration to all of us,” said Charlotte Bowers, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Anderson County. Myrick had worked on every home Habitat has built, and until about two weeks ago, when he was unable to help anymore, he had been working on house number 59, a home in Heiskell named the Myrick Build in honor of the couple. “Up until that point, he had been coming out one day a week,” Bowers said.
A memorial service for Myrick, who in June said he was 60 years old, is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday, December 20, at the Oak Ridge Unitarian Universalist Church at 809 Oak Ridge Turnpike.
“Tim played a pivotal role in the building of their new facility,” said the Rev. Sharon Youngs of the First Presbyterian Church. A reception will follow at First Presbyterian Church, where Myrick taught senior-high Sunday school classes for 25 years. That reception could start around 2 p.m. Saturday.
“Tim was a wonderful person who lived out his faith in remarkable ways in this community and beyond,” Youngs said. “I know you join me in continued prayers for Teresa and his entire family during this difficult time.”
Among other honors, Myrick had won ADFAC’s Bow Tie Award, been honored by Habitat for Humanity for a “lifetime of commitment,” and received the 2007 Muddy Boot Award from the East Tennessee Economic Council.
“I don’t think we’d be here without him,” Bowers said, citing Myrick’s time, energy, and wisdom as keys to helping Habitat.
Friends said Myrick had been briefly hospitalized in critical care last week but went home under hospice care when his liver started to fail.
Myrick had led an effort to buy the local Red Cross chapter an emergency response truck, served as interim director of ADFAC and as board chair, and was on the HFHAC board for years. Myrick’s service to ADFAC began more than 20 years ago, and he had participated in new home construction and home repairs and recently led ADFAC through the strategic planning process.
“He’s had a lot of interest over the years in humanitarian efforts,” Smith said. “It didn’t just happen overnight.”
Myrick gained recognition in the Oak Ridge community when ORNL loaned him as an executive to help lead the Oak Ridge High School renovation, Smith said.
“He was never one to seek notoriety, but he did a tremendous amount of good for the community, the nation, and around the world,” Smith said. “I’ve lost a really good friend.”
The Myricks’ pledge to the Oak Ridge Public Schools Education Foundation provides for an annual scholarship to a top AP Environmental Science student, as well as grant funds to be awarded to ORHS Science Department applicants.
Myrick had a master’s degree in environmental engineering and spent most of his career in environmental cleanup and nuclear waste management. Before he retired from Oak Ridge National Laboratory as director of facility strategic planning, he served as a loaned executive to the school system, helping oversee the design and reconstruction of the high school. He continued in that role after he retired in 2004. Then, Myrick was asked if he would be interested in helping once a week with AP Environmental Science classes.
In June, Myrick said his doctor had told him his prostate cancer was the fastest-growing that he’d ever seen. It had spread to his bones and elsewhere within three months. In December 2013, Myrick said, he was given a year to live.
The new house is just around the corner from a house that the Myricks and ORNL helped build in 2001.
More information will be added as it becomes available.