September 28, 2011

David Myrick passes away at 93

David F. Myrick in Ojai in 2007. (The Guzzler)
A Talented and Extraordinary Man Passes On

James Buckley
Montecito Journal

Over the past weekend, Montecito lost a writer of renown, a native-born historian of unparalleled accomplishment, and most of all, a friend, supporter, and defender of all that is valuable in Montecito. David Myrick, whose two books on our area – Montecito and Santa Barbara: From Farms to Estates, and The Days of the Great Estates – stand as the deļ¬nitive tomes on the establishment, expansion, and development of Santa Barbara and, especially and distinctly, Montecito.

Dana Newquist, with whom I had planned to visit David at Casa Dorinda on Sunday morning, September 25, called with the sad news the day before we were planning to stop by. Dana had been visiting David almost daily for the past six months and had noted that over the previous three days 93-year-old David Myrick had “dramatically declined.” He passed away at 10 am, Saturday morning, September 24. David’s nephew, Scott Allen, prepared the following obituary:

Santa Barbara News-Press

David F. Myrick was born in Santa Barbara's Cottage Hospital on June 17, 1918. His parents were Donald and Charlotte Porter Myrick. He was educated in local schools, the last being Crane Country Day School, until he transferred to Fountain Valley School in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He then attended Santa Barbara State College for 2 years before going to Boston to attend Babson College where he earned his degree in business administration.

In 1940 he worked for Convair in San Diego in various clerical positions. Then in August of 1944 he began his long career working in the president's office of Southern Pacific Company at their headquarters in San Francisco. He put his business acumen to work composing letters to stockholders; representing the company in financial matters before various commissions; and researching potential mergers and acquisitions.

During his life he also found time to pen 17 books and approximately 140 published articles and book reviews. His special focus was writing about different locales, including Telegraph Hill (where he lived for 29 years during his career with Southern Pacific) and Montecito, CA (where he purchased his retirement home before moving there in 1981).

He also wrote extensively on the history of American railroads and mining camps in Eastern California, Arizona, Nevada and New Mexico, including the most populated mining camp in the Western hemisphere located in Potosi, Bolivia.

Mr. Myrick was also on the board of directors for many associations--a few of them were the Santa Barbara Historical Museum, the Nevada Historical Society, Telegraph Hill Dwellers (two times) and the Montecito Association.

He eventually moved into Casa Dorinda Retirement Community in November of 2003 while retaining ownership of his Montecito home.

His was a member of the Bohemian Club and Birnham Wood Country Club.

Mr. Myrick is survived by his brother Richard Myrick; his sister Julia Allen; and her three sons Peter, Scott, and Edward Allen.

No one knew Western Railroad History better. He was a pleasant and generous correspondent. For the inhabitants and fans of the East Mojave Desert, from Tonopah to Parker, Oro Grande to Las Vegas, David Myrick's 1963 Railroads of Nevada and Eastern California: Volume II, The Southern Roads is the singular history on the region's railroads, referenced by all local historians after him. In this wonderful book can be found the detailed histories of the Atlantic & Pacific Railroad, Southern Pacific, Santa Fe (now BNSF), The Salt Lake Route, Las Vegas and Tonopah Railroad, Tonopah and Tidewater Railroad, Nevada Southern Railway, Ludlow and Southern Railway, Bullfrog Goldfield Railroad, and the Guzzler's favorite, the Searles Lake monorail of the Epsom Salts Railroad. The heritage of the Desert West has been greatly enriched by the life and work of David Myrick. - The Guzzler