Terry J. Myers, a longtime Gold Ridge Fire Protection District firefighter and retired Sonoma County government employee, has died. He was 67.

The Sebastopol resident died March 13 of complications from pancreatic cancer.

He was an engineer at the Twin Hills station, where he volunteered since 1980, and was a county building mechanic from 1998 until his retirement in 2010.

Myers helped train a generation of new firefighters as advisor to Posts 27 and 81 of the local Fire Explorer youth program.

"He was a great mentor," said Gold Ridge Chief Dan George, who knew Myers for 25 years. "He was a true fireman and a true friend. If you ever needed anything he would be there for you."

His wife of 18 years, Michele Myers, said her husband had a gruff exterior with his bushy eyebrows and poker face but inside was a sweet man who dressed up as Santa Claus at Christmas and distributed toys.

"He really loved kids," his wife said. "All he ever talked about was how proud he was of the kids from the Explorer program."

He was born in San Diego in 1945 and had one sister, Melody Reynolds of Antelope.

The family moved to Daly City when he was young and he graduated from Westmoor High in 1963. Myers was drafted into the Navy in 1967 and was sent to Vietnam, where he did a tour of duty with the Seabees construction battalion.

He returned to the Bay Area and married his first wife, Paulette Myers, and had two children, Krystal Thistle of Healdsburg and Joel Myers of Santa Rosa.

The family lived in Petaluma and Sebastopol while Myers worked in building maintenance for various companies including the Mark Hopkins Hotel in San Francisco, the Fireman's Fund Insurance Co. in Novato and AmEx Life in San Rafael.

His wife died of cancer in 1993 and he married Michele Myers, an AmEx co-worker, two years later.

In his spare time, he was a youth volunteer and worked on old cars. He inherited a 1963 Ford Galaxie convertible from his father and restored a 1955 Chevy pickup.

He was a member of the California Firefighters Muster Association and the Woodland Ave Muster Team. And he was in the Redwood Empire Classic Chevy Club.

Myers was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer Jan. 24. He died in an ambulance while riding to Palm Drive Hospital.

In addition to his wife and two children, Myers is survived by step-son Steve Carter of Novato and four grandchildren.

Services will be 11 a.m. Friday at Pleasant Hills Memorial Park in Sebastopol. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made in his honor to the Gold Ridge Fire District Explorer Post 27/81, 1690 Watertrough Road, Sebastopol 95472.