Once Carine Feyten started her job as chancellor of Texas Woman’s University in 2014, kinesiology professor Bettye Myers made an appointment to meet her.

Myers was nearly 88 years old at the time and had been at the university since 1961. Following that first meeting, Myers was full of feedback for the chancellor, frequently toting sweet treats and flowers to show her appreciation. Most recently, Myers and her dog Muffins Myers stopped by the chancellor’s office on Valentine’s Day to hand-deliver chocolate-dipped strawberries.

“She was really something else and so generous with her time, her resources and her energy,” Feyten said. “She was a real humanitarian. She cared for everyone.”

Myers died Monday after suffering a stroke in her home. TWU officials announced her death Tuesday morning.

Myers, 92, was a lifetime board member with the United Way of Denton County and worked at TWU for 54 years. She also held leadership positions with several organizations in Denton over her life, including the Denton school board, the TWU Alumnae Association, the Kiwanis, Denton County MHMR Center and Denton City County Day School.

“She transformed the nonprofit world,” Mayor Chris Watts said. “Her dedication and her heart were infectious. She could motivate people and bring out the best in people, and was such a powerful force in our community.”

Born in Heavener, Oklahoma, Myers attended TWU when it was known as the Texas State College for Women, earning her bachelor’s degree in 1946 and her master’s the following year, both degrees in health, physical education and recreation. In 1960, she earned a doctorate in counseling psychology at the University of Michigan. In 1961, she rejoined TWU as a faculty member.

After so many years at the institution, Myers was a guiding light in helping Feyten understand TWU — and for laughs, regularly using a collection of one-liners and phrases like “It’s great to be me!”

“She, to me, really symbolized the saying ‘TWU is a campus with a heart,’” Feyten said. “To me, she epitomizes that. She’s a caring face to the campus, the students, the staff and faculty. That’s who she was, and she wanted to make sure I knew that about TWU. She made that very real.”

It wound up being Feyten who encouraged Myers to retire in 2015, asking that she dedicate her time to helping lead the community in other ways.

“I think everyone was worried about how it would go,” Feyten said. “And she said, ‘You know what, honey bunny, that’s a fabulous idea.’”

Bettye Myers in November 2018, with Gary Henderson

Bettye Myers, secretary for the United Way of Denton County board of directors, poses with the nonprofit agency's CEO, Gary Henderson, in its renovated building on Teasley Lane on Nov. 14.

At the time of her death, Myers was still active in her community engagement. She was vice chairwoman of the MHMR board, on the Serve Denton board and still serving as a lifetime member of the United Way of Denton County board. United Way gives an award in her honor every year, the Dr. Bettye Myers Humanitarian Award.

“There’s no single individual who has been a part of the United Way of Denton County in its full 60 years in existence more than Bettye Myers,” United Way CEO Gary Henderson said. “When you look at the breadth of needs that United Way strives to meet, Bettye Myers cared about all of those areas.”

Myers school dedication

Bettye Myers greets her "honorary" granddaughter Amy Thielke and great-granddaughter Mallory Thielke prior to the start of the dedication ceremony for Bettye Myers Middle School in 2013. The Thielkes were part of a huge contingent of extended family who drove in from Heavener, Oklahoma, to celebrate the occasion with Myers.

Denton ISD named a new middle school in her honor in 2013. There’s also the Dr. Bettye Myers Butterfly Garden at TWU, which was dedicated to her in 2016. Other honors included the city creating “Bettye Myers Day” on her 80th birthday and her more than 30 awards for education and civic participation.

“Denton has lost a legend, but I’ll tell you what — she’s been a mentor to so many people that the town will benefit from her life and service to this community for years to come,” former City Council member Dalton Gregory said.

Services are pending with Bill DeBerry Funeral Directors.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @jennafduncan.

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