Mervin Snyder Eyler, 87, pastor, Army chaplain

June 23, 2005

The Rev. Mervin Snyder Eyler, a retired Army chaplain and Lutheran pastor, died of heart disease Sunday at Johns Hopkins Hospital. The Windsor Hills resident was 87.

Born on a Frederick County farm, he was a 1933 graduate of Emmitsburg High School. He worked for a York, Pa., dairy before serving in the Army's Chemical Corps in England, France and Germany during World War II. He was awarded the Bronze Star.

"He wanted to become a military chaplain because of the scarcity of chaplains when he was a soldier during World War II," said his wife of 63 years, the former Sarah Alberta Conti. "With no chaplain assigned to his own unit, he had missed the spiritual and personal support a chaplain could provide."

He earned degrees at the University of Baltimore, Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg and Columbia University, and was ordained in 1952.

Mr. Eyler served in Korea and Greenland and taught for three years at the Army Chaplain School at Fort Slocum, N.Y., where he prepared clergy of all faiths.

After retiring from the Army in 1970, he became pastor of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in the Bronx, N.Y. He retired from full-time ministry in 1988 and moved to Baltimore, where he became affiliated with Second English Lutheran Church, 5010 Briarcliff Road, where services will be held at 1 p.m. tomorrow.

As visitation pastor, he visited Second English's sick members and held Sunday worship services for congregations temporarily without a pastor.

In addition to his wife, survivors include two sons, Randolph David Eyler of Menlo Park, Calif., and Mervin Snyder Eyler II of Valencia, Spain; two daughters, Cynthia Ann Eyler of Baltimore and Jane Elizabeth Eyler of Framingham, Mass.; eight grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren.

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