A community mourns the loss of a champion
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, the Hendricks County Business Leader, the Center Grove ICON and The Southside Times and a dedicated public servant to many Central Indiana communities.
Rick was a visionary with an unbridled passion for newspapers. He believed content was king and it showed in every issue he published. Every assignment came through him. He encouraged new ideas but generated many assignments through his conversations with people. Rick 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.
His heart was his wife, Catherine, and family. He appreciated a great photo and clever layout. He instinctively knew what people wanted to read and then delivered it in each issue.
Born Oct. 22, 1961, in Indianapolis to the late Robert and Mary Ellen Myers, Rick grew up just outside of Haughville in Wayne Township, Marion County. Fascinated with newspapers, Rick admitted 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. Years later, staff remembers Rick 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” which meant ensuring all the shopping circulars and coupons were in every Sunday paper.
As a senior at Crispus Attucks High School, Rick was invited to work in the mailroom of the Indianapolis Star and News. Then he was offered a position as a copy boy, then sports clerk. He would take scores by phone on Friday nights and always said it was one of his favorite jobs.
Rick went on to graduate from Vincennes University and received a Bachelor of Science in journalism with an emphasis in photography from Ball State University. Later, he earned a Master’s degree in youth development from Kansas State University.
He was hired to be a sportswriter at a new newspaper called 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.”
Rick also served as press secretary for the City of Carmel, working in the administration of the late Mayor Ted Johnson, and he also served Westfield Washington Schools, launching a media relations and communications effort.
After Greenwood was sold to Central Newspapers, Rick eventually was transferred to the Hendricks County Flyer. In 2005, along with Kelly, Rick started the Hendricks County Business Leader under the corporate publishing group Times-Leader Publications. The company also purchased The Southside Times, a publication which served southern Marion County and, under Rick, expanded to northern Johnson County.
Since then, Rick has created general news publications, the Hendricks County ICON and the Center Grove ICON in an era when many newspapers were shuttering their doors. His motto was always content is king and he demonstrated with every issue in each community served.
Rick has also served his communities in various ways beyond publishing the news. 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 was the recipient of the Avon Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Professional Award in 2009. Leadership Hendricks County recently honored Rick with the Suzanne Whicker Distinguished Service Award.
In 2020, Rick was named in Editor & Publisher magazine’s inaugural “15 Over 50: Honoring the Leaders Driving the News Industry Forward,” which chose 15 U.S. publishers over the age of 50 who demonstrate a passion and optimism for the news industry. They were asked to describe important lessons learned while working in the industry and predictions for where journalism is heading.
He served as president of the board of directors for Aspire (formerly the chamber of commerce for greater Greenwood) as well as the Hendricks College Network. Rick loved serving his community and had more energy than most. He loved metal music, which he always thought came as a surprise to people.
He was an avid fan of open-wheel racing going to as many races as he could, especially the Indianapolis 500; 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 a brother Michael Boyd. As news of Rick’s passing reaches the community, you can easily see what he meant to Hendricks and Johnson counties.
Mass for Rick Myers will be 10:30 a.m. Oct. 20 at St. Malachy Catholic Church. Visitation will be 4-7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 19 at Matthews Mortuary, 690 E. 56th St., Brownsburg.
In lieu of flowers, 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.