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1927 Galen 2023

Galen H. Sayler

July 28, 1927 — January 4, 2023

Events That Shaped Galen H. Sayler’s Life

Galen H. Sayler of San Diego, California, passed away peacefully in his sleep on January 4, 2023. Galen is survived by his wife Mary Lou, his son Chris, his son Scott and his wife Tracey, and their four children Carlye, Jackson, Cecelia and Rhys, his sister Diana and her daughters Heather and Michele. 

Galen was born on July 28, 1927 in Framingham, Massachusetts. He is the son of Galen Hargis and Muriel Margaret Sayler. His family moved to Janesville, Wisconsin when his father was hired as the Chief Chemist for the Parker Pen Company. He will be remembered as a devoted husband of 72 years, a loving and supportive father and grandfather. He was passionate about anthropology, stamp collecting, history, following the daily news and his beloved Chargers. He was an accomplished jazz trumpet/cornet player who loved listening to jazz. His interest in stamp collecting began in his youth and did not fade with age as he was a very knowledgeable philatelist. Galen was an accomplished photographer with a keen eye for just the right composition and lighting. He also loved to camp, fish and travel. 

Galen was raised and attended schools in Janesville. In 1944, Galen moved to Tucson, Arizona to complete his high school education and hopefully cure his midwest allergies. After graduating from high school, Galen attended the University of Arizona, Tucson. Galen kept pretty busy between his studies and playing the cornet in the swing band. He earned $2/hour playing at school dances. He also worked as a soda-jerk. The most interesting summer job he had was working for the Western Union Survey Crew as a chain-man along the Southern Pacific Railroad from Benson, AZ to El Paso, TX. 

One month before the end World War II, in August of 1945, Galen was drafted into the Army Air Corp. By the time he reported to duty, the war was over. He worked hard as an office clerk and attained the rank of corporal. He was officially discharged on March 31, 1947. 

He returned to Tucson and entered the Liberal Arts College at the University of Arizona in September of 1947. Although Galen was majoring in anthropology and minoring in geology, he was required to take an english class his freshman year. Good thing, because that is where he met his future wife Mary Lou Carter. 

The summer of 1949 found Galen back in Janesville working in his father’s lab at the Parker Pen Company. His job entailed testing samples of metals used in fountain pens. During the summer of 1950, as part of his anthropology degree, he attended the University of Arizona Archeology Field School at Point of Pines on the White Mountain Apache Reservation. 

Mary Lou and Galen dated for three years and were married on August 20, 1950. Upon graduation, Galen got a job as a store manager with the national “five & dime” store S. H. Kress. After a couple of years managing the Nogales, Arizona store, Galen knew this was not for him. Thanks to their dear friend Pat Bush, Mary Lou and Galen decided to move to San Diego. Galen successfully obtained a job as the curator for the San Diego Museum of Man. Galen’s pay tripled from $100/month to $300/month. He was excited to be working in his field of study.

A few years after arriving in San Diego, Galen and Mary Lou were blessed with the arrival of two boys, Scott (1955) and Chris.(1958)

One of the highlights of his professional career was conducting the first archeological excavation on San Clemente Island. He wrote a detailed article about the excavation that was published in the 1959 Archaeological Survey of U.C.L.A. Anthropology Department. 

A few years later, Galen chose to leave the museum and become a high school teacher. He taught World and American History for 27 years in the San Diego Unified School District. He spent most of those years teaching at Hoover High School. During this time period he earned a masters degree in history at San Diego State University. He retired from teaching in 1987. 

Galen kept very busy in retirement. Mary Lou and Galen literally traveled the globe visiting nearly every continent. They also continued to travel throughout the United States including many visits with Scott, Tracey and their four children. He volunteered for 22 years at the Museum of Man as a curator assistant. He wrote a history for Palisades Presbyterian Church as part of a 100 year celebration. He also volunteered for the Reserve Officer Volunteer Patrol for nine years. 

A memorable highlight for Galen was the celebration of his 90th birthday. He has spoken fondly over the years about this wonderful gathering which included Mary Lou, Chris, Scott, Tracey and his four grandchildren, Carlye, Jackson, Cecelia and Rhys. 


In lieu of flowers, please donate to one of Galen’s two favorite charities. Thank you! 

PVA Paralyzed Veterans of America:
YMCA of San Diego County Kids Day Camp:
To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Galen H. Sayler, please visit our flower store.

Service Schedule

Past Services

Honors For Galen Harley Sayler

Wednesday, January 18, 2023

2:30 - 3:00 pm (Pacific time)

Miramar National Cemetery

5795 Nobel Drive, San Diego, CA 92122

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Memorial Service

Saturday, May 6, 2023

11:00am - 12:30 pm (Pacific time)

Palisades Presbyterian Church

6301 Birchwood St, San Diego, CA 92120

Enter your phone number above to have directions sent via text. Standard text messaging rates apply.


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