Lewis Carter Cuyler, of Pittsfield, Mass., and Hood River, Ore., died peacefully from end stage Alzheimer’s Disease at his home in Pittsfield on Nov. 3, 2017. Lew was born in New York City on April 30, 1933, the eldest of five children. He spent his childhood in New Jersey, moving around from town to town as his father was working for the military during World War II. He attended Amherst College from 1951-1955. Following college, Lew enlisted in the U.S. Army and spent time in Stuttgart, Germany. Lew married Jane Warren Cuyler in 1960. They had two children, Juliana and Alexander, while residing in Williamstown, Mass. Lew and Jane subsequently divorced. Later, Lew married his beloved wife, Harriet Buechner Cuyler in 1975.
Although he enjoyed spending time in Hood River later in life, Lew was a true New Englander at heart. He first arrived in Berkshire County, Mass., in 1958 looking for a journalism job. He began a 40-year career with two local newspapers: The Transcript, of North Adams, Mass., and the Berkshire Eagle, in Pittsfield. He started as a reporter and ended his career as executive editor with the Transcript and then business editor with the Berskhire Eagle. He loved the people and the beauty of Berkshire County and worked tirelessly on community projects, bringing attention to the value of urban trees, community parks, and local history. He also taught journalism classes at UMass and the former North Adams State College.
Later in his writing career, Lew developed his own business, “Cuyler Ink,” in which he provided freelance writing services and sound slide shows. A self-titled “Newspaper Animal,” he possessed unmatched typing skills and he regularly wrote stories in one draft with no misspellings after consulting his reporter’s notebooks filled with unintelligible (to others) notes.
He continued to write a weekly ski column and was a member of the New England Ski Writers Association for many years. He authored several books during his life, including “Short Bike Rides in the Berkshires” and “Ernestine Bayer, the Mother of Women’s Rowing in the United States,” as well as co-authoring “Skiing in the Berkshire Hills” with Lauren Stephens. These books reflected his love of recreating in his beloved Berkshires. He also self -published his memoirs, entitled “On Being a Human Verb.” Lew was an avid cross country and downhill skier, a cyclist, and lover of “messing around in boats” (quote from the water rat in Kenneth Grahame’s “The Wind in the Willows”).
Upon retiring from newspaper work, he rekindled his love for rowing which harkened back to his prep school and college days. He had purchased a single “shell” from a cousin, and another career blossomed in which he sold rowing shells and founded the Berkshire Sculling Association (BRASS). Besides teaching and coaching the sport, he competed in regional rowing races and seven international rowing events. He and Harriet were well known names in the Masters Division.
His dedication to the Berkshires was only interrupted by the births of four grandchildren in Oregon, and in seeking more regular contact with them, he and Harriet moved to Hood River for 15 consecutive winters. He appreciated the grandeur of the Cascade Mountains, and was a regular at Mt. Hood Meadows and Teacup Nordic Ski Club. He also rowed a single and a double scull on the Columbia in the winter, welcoming the opportunity to row open water as the lakes back in Massachusetts were frozen in the winter. He and Harriet would bundle up and wade into the cold Columbia to launch their boats from the Event Site or the Marina beach.
Lew is survived by his loving wife of 42 years, Harriet, and two children, Alexander Cuyler (Diana) of Pleasant Hill, Ore., and Juliana Cuyler Dolan (Joe) of Hood River, and four grandchildren who miss him, Delia Jane Dolan, Daisy Mary Dolan, Lily Alexandra Cuyler, and Elias Anthony Cuyler. He is also survived by two sisters, Juliana McIntyre Fenn and Margery Cuyler Perkins, and a brother, George Grenville Cuyler, all of New Jersey. A brother, David LeRoy Cuyler, and his ex-wife, Jane Cuyler pre-deceased him.
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