Biography

   Harry Eiler was born on May 2nd, 1929 and christened as ‘Henry Philip Eiler’ at the Lutheran Church in Gerittsen Beach, Brooklyn, New York.  However he reserves his ‘formal’ name for legal matters and prefers ‘Harry”.   His maternal family traces its roots to Eberhard Staubach, born 1810 in the

village of Herbstein, Hesse, Germany - but

matermal family origins go backfurther still to

the Lauterbrůnnen Valley of Switzerland and its

famous Staubbach Falls from whence the

family name was derived.   His paternal roots

have been traced to Heinrich Eiler - circa

1752, in Torzsa,  Austro-Hungary.

If any single word is appropriate to describe
the life, education, careers and interests of
Harry - that word would be “eclectic”!    His
parents moved every year during his seven
years of grade schooling and, oddly, he
started and finished at the same school -
PS77 in Ridgewood, Queens. New York
City - living in the same flat on Putnam 
Avenue that the family had moved from
five years prior.

Graduating Class, PS 77, 1942  - ft 2nd on left

    Harry then attended Richmond Hill High

School (1942-46) where he was Freshman

Class President and went on to be the only

male student to take four years of Latin -

instilling a love of classical Greece and Rome.   This exposure to Virgil’s ‘Aeneid” during his senior year of school was subsequently augmented in college so that Harry has had a keen love and interest in the Classics throughout his entire life.

While attending Wagner College, Staten Island, New York (1946-50), he frequently changed majors and finally decided upon a BA in History - with special interest in the Medieval Period - and languages.    During the last two years at college, Harry became involved in Dramatics after playing  “ Gremio” in “Taming of the Shrew”.  His portrayal of this old suitor of Kate was so effective that he was then cast as the lead in the wartime drama, “Command Decision” - a role played on the Broadway by Paul Kelly and in Hollywood by Clark Gable.     His reviews were flattering but the financial insecurities associated with a career in ‘The Theater’ were not that appealing.

Of more lasting consequence, Harry’s continued interest in the Classics prompted him to enroll in several year long classes of Greek and Roman Plays in Translation at Wagner.   These classes were given by Dr. Hinman, an exceptional mentor who firmly established a love and appreciation of classical Greek culture and arts - along with a detailed knowledge of the comings and goings of the Greek Gods in mythology.

After graduation, Harry entered the United States Air Force (1951-55)  and was assigned to receive two years of concentrated study in Electronics, Radar and Nuclear Weapons before ending up on Guam and then later at Merced AFB, California, in the Special Weapons Program.    It was on Guam that Harry caught ‘island fever’ - which would lead him to a future decision to have a vacation home in Jamaica in the Caribbean.

Guam, 1953

Considering a career in Medicine after discharge from the USAF, Harry moved to Redondo Beach, California and enrolled at El Camino College in a concentrated course of study of Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Biology.

He later went to University of California at Los Angeles as a ‘special graduate student’ to continue classes in Physics and Mathematics.      It was at this time that he gave up plans in Medicine and considered briefly a career in Nuclear Physics.   However, during summer jobs as a Technical Writer, he found his niche in applying

his natural bent for writing with his technical background.

Having done with formal education, he started work as a full time technical writer and was soon made Project Leader on several important manuals for the growing aerospace program .     Shortly thereafter, Harry started his own company, Artel Publications, Inc. in Studio City,California which was successful during its first year of operation by its innovative use of the then new field of word processing in the preparation of Overhaul and Maintenance Manuals for Boeing and other companies.   His inventive use of word processing set Artel far ahead of other  publication firms, resulting in major long-term contracts in support of various Boeing aircraft.

Not quite a year later in September, 1965, Harry married Alice Eleanor Jezek, executive secretary to the Treasurer of Lockheed Aircraft.   They had met at a Great Books Discussion Group led by Harry and their marriage has continued to date.     Harry often refers to his bride as “the best thing that ever happened to me.       He goes on to say, “Alice had always been entirely supportive of all my hair-brained ideas - enabling me to become’ (as the Minister admonished at their wedding) ‘the person I was always meant to be.”

After 20 years as a Publisher, in 1986 Harry added an almost all-consuming activity to his interests - the development and operation of a private resort .... “The Admiralty Club on Navy Island’,  a private 64-acre island in the Harbor of Port Antonio, Jamaica.                                   

The island was once owned by swashbuckling movie idol, Errol Flynn, and the Eiler’s were already enjoying their unusual ‘round’ thatched-roof vacation home overlooking the harbors when they leased the entire island.  After six years, following an uprising by their 50-odd employees, Harry and Alice returned to California, dis-illusioned with their efforts  to make a ‘go’ of the resort

It was their abrupt return to Studio City and subsequent relocation to Encinitas, 15-miles north of San Diego, together with lots of free time on his hands, that led Harry to grow orchids and start musical studies.      Harry had always been an avid lover of ‘classical’ music but his interest was solely as listener and non-participant.     In 1979, Harry and Alice had put together the Grane Award for Young Wagnerian Singers under the guidance of Impresario Glynn Ross, then Director of the Seattle Opera, and Maestro Henry Holt as part of their ‘Ring’ Festival each summer.  This program of grants went on for four years when Michael Mitchell, the last of the young musicians, received a grant to complete his written analysis of Wagner’s ‘Ring.’      Michael had completed a draft of his detailed tome, when he was stricken with AIDS and gave Harry the draft before his passing.

Michael’s unfinished work, “The Shattered Spear” was set aside until Harry, without the demands of his publications firm and resort in Jamaica , decided to edit the draft material.   However, he found his understanding of musical terms and syntax were sorely lacking for this task.     To fill this void of musical knowledge, Harry enrolled at MiraCosta College concentrating on classes in Musician- ship, Theory, Piano, and Music History.   It was at this time that Harry realized he could actually compose music of his own , including his early works, “Sonata Allegro for Piano” and “Back to Bach”.

Harry continued his musical studies at UCSD and with private tutors, obtained his PhD in Music in 2004.     At this writing in 2010, Harry, at 82, is active in encouraging emerging composers and performers through the Harry and Alice Eiler Foundation and continuing the work Alice and he started with the Grane Awards in 1979. He conducts two well-attended and well-received free lecture series ‘Opera is Grand” and “Music in Your Life” as Artistic Director of the Carlsbad Music Guild, Inc.


Harry’s life has been and continues to be outstanding testimony to his guiding rule so succinctly phrased by Joseph Campbell ......

“FOLLOW YOUR PASSION”

Unique desk/chair designed by Julius A. Jezek, Alice’s father.