Harwinton- Reverend David Edward Eylers, 79, passed away Saturday, October 19, 2019, at his home. He was the beloved husband of Carla Heline (Peterson) Eylers for 52 years.
Rev. Eylers was born in Poughkeepsie, NY, on June 12, 1940, son of the late Dirk and Emily Jane (Webb) Eylers. He was a graduate of Marietta College, Ohio, majoring in Philosophy,1962, and General Theological Seminary in New York City, 1965. Following graduation and ordination, the new Deacon became Curate of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Simsbury, Ct., 1965-1967, being ordained Priest in Dec., 1965. As Rector, Rev. Eylers served St. Thomas’ Episcopal Church, New Windsor, NY, 1967-1970; St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, Mohegan Lake, NY, 1970-1980; and St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in Beacon, NY, serving there for 25 ½ years, until retirement in 2006. Upon retiring to Harwinton, Ct., the Eylers became members of Trinity Episcopal Church, Torrington. Rev. Eylers served Trinity in many capacities and since 2015 held Friday Night Bible Study at their residence. He also served the diocese on the Social Justice and Advocacy Committee. Rev. Eylers also had served as Chairman of the Board for Harwinton's Wintergreen Elderly Housing Authority. While in active ministry in NY, Rev. Eylers was a member since 1967 of The Monday Club, a monthly collegial gathering of Episcopal clergy in the Mid-Hudson Valley. This membership continued until his departure from this life, 52 years later. While in Beacon, NY, Rev. Eylers, was a member of the Kiwanis Club and served as President and Lt. Governor. He truly enjoyed working with young people and was instrumental in helping to start a Key Club at Beacon High. As a child, he had attended the Poughkeepsie YMCA camp Wa Wa Segowea in New Marlborough, MA and during Seminary days in the summers served as a Chaplain at Wa Wa Segowea. It was his favorite place on earth. He preached too to Church School children on Sunday mornings before Church services at a level they could understand, and listening adults embraced. While at Beacon, he and his wife, Carla, met with the Youth Group on Sunday afternoons. The two also were a presenting clergy couple on Episcopal Marriage Encounter Weekends held across the country from 1975 to 1980. As their family grew, they became the local ME Administrative Couple for another five years.
Rev. Eylers' most dramatic accomplishment was when, in the snowy months of February and March of 1994, the movie, "Nobody's Fool," directed by Robert Benton, was being filmed in the Beacon area. Portions of it for a funeral scene where filmed on the grounds of St. Luke's Church. After watching a rehearsal with the "priest" wearing a trench coat, he showed Mr. Benton what a real priest would wear, a long black cape, and demonstrated how it would swing as the priest led the way through the cemetery. So impressed with his image and deportment, Mr. Benton chose him instead to play the part in the movie with Paul Newman, Bruce Willis, and Melanie Griffith.
Survivors, in addition to his wife, Carla, include a son, David Per Emanuel Eylers of Newburgh, NY; a daughter, Mary Alyson Eylers of Kingston, NY; two grandchildren, Soren Narcisse Noto and William Per Edward Eylers; two nieces, Marie Jane (Eylers) Locasio and Janet Elizabeth Eylers, a nephew, Mark Edward and their mother Janet Marie (Swartz) Eylers; cousins John Francis Peter and Nicholas Dirk Eylers, Nancy Lee Foster, and Patricia (Webb) Van Kirk; and several grand nieces and nephews. Rev. Eylers was predeceased by a daughter, Linnea Anne Heline Eylers; his brother, John Frederick Eylers, Sr.; and nephew, John Frederick Eylers, Jr.
The Memorial Service will be held Sat. Nov. 16 at 1:00 pm, followed by a reception in the Parish Hall at Trinity Episcopal Church, 220 Prospect St., Torrington, Ct. Burial in Salisbury Cemetery will be private. Gleeson-Ryan Funeral Home, 258 Prospect St., Torrington, is in care of arrangements.
At the request of the family, in lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Trinity Episcopal Church Book of Remembrance, 220 Prospect St., Torrington, CT 06790, or the Harwinton Ambulance Association, 166 Burlington Rd., Harwinton, CT 06791.
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