Dr. Cecil Winston Gayler, age 103, a resident of Cape Coral, died November 8, 2019. He was born in Fort Payne, AL to parents Winston Leon Gayler and Mary Jay Hurtt Gayler. He is predeceased by his adored wife of 67 years, Lydia Sarah Haisten Gayler, and his brother Hugh Gayler. He is survived by his dear friend Margaret Kirby, his son, Winston Daniel Gayler (special friend Maritza Alfandari), daughter Janet Grant Gayler Fallon (Robert), grandsons Daniel (Sienna) and Douglas (Kathleen) Fallon and great granddaughters Piper, Wren, and Cecily. Cecil also leaves behind his friend and housekeeper Lisa Del Rosso who kept the house running and was always there for him in emergencies. He will also be missed by his wonderful helpers, Marilyn, and Mary.
A lifelong science and engineering enthusiast, Dr. Gayler graduated from Howard College (now Samford University) in Birmingham, AL, where he was a member of Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. He received his MS from the Georgia Institute of Technology and his PhD from the University of Texas in Austin, where he was a Parke Davis Fellow.
Dr. Gayler’s career as a research scientist and chemical industry executive covered a wide range of interests, from pharmaceuticals to synthetic fibers and plastics. He was a key participant in the early development of synthetic fibers and in the technology for their commercial manufacture. He held a number of patents and promoted the international transfer of technology while directing the construction of textile plants in the US and abroad. His most satisfying career accomplishments, however, were the mentoring of younger scientists and engineers in his field.
Dr. Gayler was an emeritus member of the American Chemical Society, a Fellow in the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a member of the Society of the Plastics Industry, the Society of Plastics Engineers, the American Association of Textile Chemists and Colorists, and the American Association of Textile Technology. Honorary societies included Scientific Research Honor Society, Sigma Xi, and the National Chemistry Honor Society, Phi Lambda Upsilon.
Always interested in science and young people, Dr. Gayler was active in the Scientists’ Society of Southwest Florida, which promotes science and technology education in area schools. He was a board member of the Fort Myers Community Concert Association.
Upon retiring to Cape Coral in 1975, Dr Gayler was able to indulge his passion for sailing. Over the years Cecil and his first mate, Lydia, explored the waters from Mobile Bay to Long Island Sound, including the Bahamas and Dry Tortugas in their beloved sailboat, Lagniappe. He was a past member of the Pensacola Yacht Club and was active in the Coast Guard Auxiliary. He and Lydia were members of the Cape Coral Sailing Club and the Royal Palm Yacht Club where they led many cruises in Southwest Florida. He will be missed by his many friends in these clubs, as much for his sailing expertise as for his sense of humor and ability to offer a quip appropriate for any occasion.
Family was also important to Cecil. He was especially close to his grandsons and featured prominently in their “most admired person” school assignments. As children, they loved the boating fun to be had with Granddad, but as adults Dan and Doug appreciated Cecil as a role model for their professional and family lives.
A memorial service will be held at a later date. Donations in his honor could be made to Hope Hospice, the Scientists’ Society of Southwest Florida, or the Royal Palm Yacht Club Foundation.
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