Woman behind witty Southside Cleaners signs in Lakeland dies at 95

By Rick Elmhorst, Reporter
Last Updated: Wednesday, October 07, 2015, 5:49 PM EDT

The creator of witty sayings on the Southside Cleaners sign in Lakeland has died at the age of 95.

Marge Myers started posting the messages back in the 1960s when she and her husband Burt bought the business.

The sign has been left blank this week in her honor.  Drivers on South Florida Avenue look forward to new messages on the sign each week.

"You always found your eyes leaking off of the road up to the sign to see what was up there,” said long-time customer Lamar Rogers.

A sign featured in a 2003 Ledger newspaper story about Myers read: "THERAPY IS EXPENSIVE POPPING BUBBLE WRAP IS CHEAP."

Another recent sign read: "SYN TAX? FOR MAKING POOR GRAMATICAL CHOICES."

Myers’ son Greg said she was constantly on the lookout for ideas that she could turn into her own original work.

"I know when we were on vacation when we were little kids every billboard, every sign and every changeable letter sign she would make a mental note of it. If she saw something, even part of an idea that was interesting, she would write it down."

Myers said her mom kept thousands of her original messages in a safe deposit box. Short messages like "MISERS MAKE GOOD ANCESTORS" took work.

"Because you would take out a saying that was completely explanatory and you'd take a part of it out. So someone would have to stop and think before they understood the message you were trying to convey,” he said.

Greg Myers was usually in on the planning meetings for the weekly sign change.

"We used to get together on Thursday afternoons to pick the signs for the next week for Monday. Martinis were always involved in that so that may have driven some of the creativity."

Greg Myers’ wife Beth took on the responsibility of handling the signs about a decade ago as Marge got older. Her messages will be back in Marge’s honor starting Monday.

"I was telling my wife they are going to have to be really good because people have gone without for a week,” said Myers.