Dr. Paul Reims Meyer, Jr., 89, of Chicago, IL: in retirement, Valparaiso, IN and Weeki Wachee, FL, passed away on April 9, 2021 in Brooksville, FL. Private services will be held on Saturday, April 24th, at Merritt Funeral Home in Spring Hill, FL. Interment with full Military Honors to be held on Monday, April 26th at Bushnell National Military Cemetery. As a pioneer in the development of Trauma Centers throughout the United States, Dr. Meyer had been a Spine Surgeon and Professor of Orthopedics at Northwestern University Medical School, and the founder of the first Acute Spine Trauma Center, located in Chicago, IL. Dr. Meyer was born in Port Arthur, TX to Paul R. Meyer Sr., MD and Evelyn M. Meyer on November 2nd, 1931. He treasured his younger brother Lynn, born in 1934. From an early age Dr. Meyer said he had been inspired by his pediatrician father’s respect for morals, ideals, compassionate patient care (especially for those without the ability to pay), the military, and academics. After playing football for Thomas Jefferson High School in Port Arthur, becoming an Eagle Scout, secretly obtaining his Pilot’s license at the age of 17 (to surprise his parents), and building and racing boats on “Cow Bayou”, he graduated from High School in 1950. He graduated from Virginia Military Institute (VMI) in 1954, and maintained a lifelong allegiance to his beloved military institution thereafter. After meeting at St. Mary’s Hospital in Port Arthur, in 1954 he married his college sweetheart, Charlotte Blair, a recent nursing school graduate. They moved to New Orleans where he attended Tulane Medical School and started a family. Through the years and many states they had four children and were married for 20 years. He served his medical Internship (1958-1959) in Saginaw, MI; his Orthopedic Residency (1959-1963) at Tulane Medical School and Charity Hospital, and his Fellowship in Spine Surgery at Rancho Los Amigos Hospital in Downey, California. His distinguished life in medicine was paralleled by a career-long service with the U.S. Military. He was an Army Airborne graduate (Ft. Benning, GA); certified Flight Surgeon; Air Assault Team Member; and with his physician father, was nationally recognized for their Father/Son volunteer mission to VietNam to treat civilian casualties of war through the USAF and AMA (1967). Dr. Meyer served as the U.S. Army’s Surgeon General Consultant from 1983-2000; served in El Salvador as Surgeon General Liaison for the El Salvadoran Army (1985); was a Paratrooper in Africa on a Special Forces mission (Kenya 1989); and was activated and appointed Chief of Orthopaedic Surgery at the U.S. Army Hospital in Landstuhl, Germany during Operation Desert Storm. He served under President Jimmy Carter on the President’s Council of Spinal Cord Injury, and under President Ronald Reagan on the National Highway Safety Advisory Committee. He authored the surgical textbook “Surgery of Spine Trauma” in 1988; published over 58 academic papers; gave over 50 Military presentations and several hundred civilian presentations. Other academic accomplishments include his graduation from Northwestern’s Kellogg Graduate School of Management MBA program in June, 1992. Dr. Meyer is survived by his children: Kristin Meyer, Holly (Bruce) Truitt, Paul (Kerry) Meyer, Stewart (Jennifer) Meyer; grandchildren Marshall, Pierce and Madison Meyer; niece, Andrea Meyer Meltzer, nephew Lynn (Vikki) Meyer; his friend and former wife, Charlotte; and his adored companion, Ramona. Beyond his accomplishments and fueled by his robust love of life had been his diverse interests (tap dancing, guitar lessons, all-things German, being at the helm of his cherished Hatteras, the ‘Interspace’, and flying his twin engine Cessna 310). With his forever “Airborne” approach to all challenges ... the constants that drove Dr. Meyer through every stage of life was his unrivaled passion for medicine, flying, the military, academia, reading, laughter, fishing in Canada, boating on Lake Michigan; duty, honor, his beloved country … and above all, the fierce love and reverence he held for God, his friends, his colleagues, his soulmate Ramona, and his family. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Wounded Warrior Project or Tunnel to Towers Foundation.
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