Janet Meyers, a Fort Wayne native, mother of three and an active community volunteer, has been named the 2013 Indiana Mother of the Year.
Meyers, 73, was selected by the Indiana chapter of the national American Mothers organization. The group works to “recognize the important role of motherhood through eduational programs and community outreach,” including by selecting a national Mother of the Year and Young Mother of the Year.
Meyers is a 1957 South Side High School graduate. She went on to attend business college classes to become a private secretary, and then worked as a trust teller at the former Lincoln Bank before marrying her late husband, Raymond N. Meyers, in 1961.
She and her husband met after her family moved to the suburbs, and his family lived across the street, she said.
After marrying, they moved to Phoenix, Ariz., where her husband worked as a city planner. They moved back to Fort Wayne three years later, and stayed here. He died in December 2011.
Meyers and her husband are the parents of two daughters and a son.
After their first child was born, she became a stay-at-home mom.
“Sometimes people put you down for being a stay-at-home mom,” she said. “I think I would have felt awfully guilty if I hadn't.”
It took some sacrifices to allow her to stay home with the children, but she thought it was important to be there when they were growing up and when they arrived home from school, she said.
“I thought it was fulfilling, and we learned to laugh a lot at some of our mistakes,” she said of herself and her husband.
Too many of today's young women think they have to do it all — children, career and more, said Darlene Cyr of Fort Wayne, president of the Indiana chapter of American Mothers.
But being a mother is one of the most important jobs a woman can have, Cyr said.
“You can do a lot with a lot less money if you have a happy home,” she said. “That really is one of our goals — to mentor moms so they do not feel unworthy.”
Meyers joined the local American Mothers group about four or five years ago, she said. She has served on its board of directors for the past year.
Meyers has volunteered since 1972 with Stonecroft Ministries, of Kansas City, Mo., an interdenominational ministry with outreach program for women. Meyers helps organize a local Stonecroft outreach known as Women's Mid-Day Connection, which currently attracts 50 to 70 women to monthly meetings that include lunch and a speaker or presentation.
More recently, Meyers also has been volunteering at Redemption House, a local organization which helps young women make the transition from jail or prison to living successfully on their own.