'I wish he were still here.' Former Intern Laura James Shares Memories of the Late Bob Myers

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SOUTHFIELD — Attorney Laura James has come a long way since her days working for Bob Myers at The County Press in Lapeer. Sometimes, seated behind her office desk at Sullivan, Ward, Asher & Patton, P.C., she catches herself daydreaming about writing for The New York Times.

“Now I write things that are only read by one or two people. Being a reporter was a lot more fun,” she said. “I’ve written a few books but that doesn’t scratch the itch.”

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Laura moonlights as a true crime author, editor and all-­around expert on historical criminals and crimes. Her books, including one about Jesse James Jr., are published by Barnes & Noble.

She’s still waiting to make the best­seller list and sell the movie rights.

The late Bob Myers was her men­tor.

“He was a good old­-fashioned, two-­fisted journalist,” Laura said. “All kinds of people throughout the Midwest wanted his name on their resume. Did you know Tom Ferguson took a sabbatical from the Detroit Free Press just to come up here and work for Myers for a year?

“Bob was and still is a legend in Midwestern journalism. You could always count on the man to have a strong opinion on everything. For generations, the people of Lapeer County were spoiled. That kind of journalism is hard to find these days.”

She has a favorite Bob Myers story to share. Back when she worked as a summer intern at the newspaper, the mayor of Lapeer fell asleep during a city commission meeting. Someone from The County Press photographed him sawing logs in his chair at city hall.

“When Bob Myers found out about it, he ran the picture on the front page. The headline said, ‘Mayor sleeps during public busi­ness.’ When the mayor did some­thing Bob didn’t like, he ran the picture again.”

Myers committed suicide 15 years ago this month, on Nov. 14, 2000. Laura had conflicting emo­tions about his unexpected death. Admiration and disappointment at the same time. It’s complicated, she said. Regardless, his final decision couldn’t erase his extraordinary impact on so many lives.

Especially hers. Because Myers gave her a generous scholarship to study journalism at Central Michigan University when she was young, she founded a scholarship in his name at University of Detroit Mercy this fall. The first three recipients were each recently awarded renewable grants of $1,000 a year.

“Now that I have my three little scholarships, I find myself preach­ing the gospel of Robert Myers to anyone who is obligated to listen,” Laura said. “Robert Myers was my rock. He taught me how to write. I wish he was still here. No fooling.”

Credit: The County Press