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An artist paints every inch of his life. If he’s a pediatric dentist, he paints there. If he’s a singer he paints there. If he’s both, as Dr. Eugene Myerov was, it only enlarges his canvas for the lucky people around him.
"He had this kind of Vaudeville-y, Sinatra-y type way of singing," his son Jonathan recalls. "As a dentist, what he would do — as he did everywhere — he sang a little bit. He just was able to put people, especially children, at ease."
Jonathan, one of Dr. Myerov's three sons, grew up with a father who couldn’t help but start sunny days with "Oh What a Beautiful Morning." He painted, gardened, carried a solo practice, and cared for all the teeth in the nuclear family.
He was cheerfully unpretentious. Playing with toys in the chair, little patients never feared him. He caused no trauma, because he hadn't known any himself.
"I was looking at one of his old high school yearbooks, and what someone had written about him is, 'You can always tell Gene Myerov by the smile on his face,'" Jonathan remembers. "And you know, that's him — every picture you see, everything you see, he's in a smile."
Singing preceded dentistry by decades. Growing up in Philadelphia, Gene sang with his father and brother in the synagogue choir and a barbershop quartet.
He left an artistic mark on the most mundane details of life. "Everything in the every day just had these little touches of him. Even the way he sneezed — no one sneezed like my dad," Jonathan recalls.
But he had a unique tenderness, too. "I remember one time when I was in college, I think we'd had a disagreement of some sort, and he wrote me a letter asking for forgiveness for whatever he'd said or done that had upset me."
It was what Jonathan called “a steady-state goodness,” and it was patriotic as well as personal. When Gene retired with his wife to Charlestown, he used to walk out in the morning, pass the Constitution, and salute the flag. "You know, that's how he would kick off his day, and those were the things that gave him joy," Jonathan remembers.
After Gene’s death last October — just two days following his 50th wedding anniversary — the Jewish singing group he’d been a loyal member of staged a tribute concert. For his family, the music was bittersweet. They were used to hearing his voice. That night, they heard its absence.
Did you know Eugene Myerov? Share your memories in the comments section.
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