Glenn Eyster Jr.
Glenn Eyster Jr.

Chances are most people have seen Glenn Eyster Jr.'s contributions to York County but didn't know the man.

There are the giant bicycles along the York County Heritage Rail Trail in Seven Valleys.

There are the giant lighted arches that span the road as motorists enter Rocky Ridge County Park for the yearly Christmas Magic: A Festival of Lights. Inside the park, there are the lighted igloo with penguins, a cluster of metal pine trees that glow with light, a massive 12-by-16-foot American flag that shines bright, among the other displays built by Eyster's business, Eyster's Machine Shop in Shrewsbury, and given to the county.

"He had a big impact on our inventory and made the trail what it is today," said Jeri Jones, program coordinator for the York County Department of Parks and Recreation. "His name is all over Christmas Magic."

Eyster died Sunday after a battle against cancer. He was 62.

Businessman: After graduating from Spring Grove Area High School in 1969, Eyster took an apprenticeship at Motters Printing, a printing press manufacturer, and, a short time later, started his own machine business.

Eyster's Machine Shop celebrated its 35th year in operation this year.

Eyster also served as mayor of New Salem for three years in the 1970s and was the assistant fire chief New Salem Community Fire Co. for about five years.

During his tenure as mayor, Eyster had the honor of the turning on the borough's first and only traffic light at Main and George streets, said his wife, Wanda Eyster.

In addition to his wife, Eyster leaves behind a son, Glenn Eyster III of Seven Valleys, and numerous other family members, according to his obituary.

Contributions: An avid bicyclist, Glenn Eyster Jr. served as treasurer of the York County Rail Trail Authority for 11 years.

He had the three giant bike sculptures, made at his shop, installed on property that once housed his business, where he also had a pavilion and a parking lot built on the land. The parking lot gave cyclists easy access to the trail.

"He was just really involved in stuff like that," said his son, Glenn Eyster III.

Since at least 1989, when Jones took over organizing and leading efforts to put on Christmas Magic, now in its 30th year, Glenn Eyster Jr. has been making displays for the annual attraction. Apart from his yearly contribution of displays, he also refurbished aging ones, Jones said.

Glenn Eyster Jr. received the county parks department's volunteer achievement award in 2012 for his work to improve recreation opportunities.

As a show of thanks, Jones would give Eyster a number of free admission passes to Christmas Magic that he could give to people of his choosing.

Despite that, Eyster also opened his wallet to buy more tickets.

"He still insisted on buying a bunch of tickets for the children's charity he was involved with," Jones said.

-- Reach Greg Gross at ggross@yorkdispatch.com.