LIVING LIFE WELL
On Dec. 23, 2018, longtime Emmaus resident Harold Eyer marked his 100th birthday.
A centennial birthday deserves a “bash,” and Eyer’s family, friends and admirers pulled out all the stops. The festivities began earlier this summer with a picnic hosted by the family in Emmaus Community Park. In the event December weather would prevent Eyer’s son Jeff, who lives out of state, from attending, the initial celebration took place on a balmy summer weekend. In Eyer’s words, “It was quite a party,” and it was just the beginning.
Several members of St. Matthew’s E.C. Church in Emmaus felt that Eyer’s church family should also recognize his birthday and they worked to surprise him.
Pam Schiaffo, Delores Christman and Mary Rehm were instrumental in coordinating the celebration and quickly discovered that keeping their plans a secret from Eyer would not be easy.
To allay his suspicions, on Dec. 22, 2018, Eyer’s children kept their tradition of taking him out for a birthday dinner at Brookside Country Club. The next morning, he was taken aback when police officers arrived to help him into a waiting limousine. In the company of a police escort, Eyer arrived at St. Matthew’s in style.
In recognition of the four years he served as part of the Army Air Corps stationed in Italy during World War II, a military color guard lined the walkway to the church. Asked if he had been surprised, Eyer responded emphatically, “Yes, I was!”
Of the 165 people who attended the church service, approximately 35 belong to the Eyer clan. At five weeks old, Eyer’s newest great granddaughter, Cecilia Casciano, is 100 years younger than her great grandfather. Two other great grandchildren born in 2018 share the same distinction.
A celebratory luncheon followed the service. In addition, Eyer received congratulatory citations from Emmaus Mayor Lee Ann Gilbert, the Lehigh County Commissioners, Governor Tom Wolf, state Rep. Justin Simmons, R-131st, state Senator Lisa Boscola, D-18th and U.S. Senator Bob Casey. And, there’s more.
Three times a week, Eyer meets friends for breakfast at the Trivet Restaurant in Emmaus. When he arrived on the Monday following the party at St. Matthew’s, Eyer was greeted with a cake and a $100 gift certificate from the restaurant’s management. Eyer laughed as he explained that his gift certificate came with specific directions. He is to spend it “ … one dollar at a time.”
Finally, he and his friend Bert Killo are planning to dine at the Shady Maple restaurant near Lancaster. Eyer intends to enjoy the free meal which the restaurant gives to those who reach the century mark.
At 100 years young, he remains alert, positive and humorous. Asked to reveal the secret of his long life, Eyer, who officially gave up playing golf at age 99, credited good genes. His father lived to be 88, his brother survived to 94 and his mother celebrated her 98th birthday. Given his mental acuity and physical heredity, it may not be too early to start planning Harold Eyer’s 105th birthday bash!