Obituary of Rev. Donald M. Havrilla
Rev. Donald Havrilla of
His dedication to and trust in God supported him in his struggle and ultimately gave him peace.
Born in the small steel mill town of
Rev. Havrilla worked his way from a blue-collar steel mill worker into a white-collar Personnel Manager for General Dynamics, a US Defense contractor.
After being honorably discharged from the US Army in 1959, he met his wife Eileen for the first time at a Jam Session in
Nearly 2 years went by when both, on vacation in Wildwood, NJ, she again caught his eye and he asked her out again. Neither of them remembered the other from their previous meeting until their friends said they thought that he was the same guy she had met in
They began dating and were married on February 23, 1963, when Eileen Persico became his wife and the love of his life.
They both know that the hand of God was involved in their meetings despite them not realizing it at the time.
Don's early life was spent in Politics and Industrial Labor Relations representing the interests of both the steel workers union members as well as the Industrial Corporate Executive interests, in addition to raising a family and attending college at
His Machiavellian approach to business and politics led to his disillusionment with the business world. After several rocky years struggling with alcohol and marital issues, his wife Eileen found God and became a Born Again Christian.
Seeking purpose, hope and meaning in his life he asked her "That peace that you recently found, is it from your faith in God ? And if so, you better thank him, because I don't have it".
She invited him to a church service where he was challenged to read the bible by a stranger. He decided to read the Bible, at first, only to disprove that it was of any value to powerful, self-made men and to debate the need for such teachings in his life.
As he read the Word Of God he realized that this was the truly the proper way to live, but he thought “I am too big a sinner to be able to live this life". His wife challenged him to ask Jesus into his life. He did thus finding the same peace, hope and contentment that his wife had found.
In 1971, following a deep desire to to serve God and to help others, he and his wife decided to move to
He and a close group of friends built the home in which he raised his family and in which he and his wife lived for the rest of his life. Don and Eileen considered that home to be a miracle, as they had no prior construction experience and Don was not known for his mechanical ability. Yet new and old Christian friends from East Hampton to
Again, they recognized the hand of God at work in their lives, in a myriad of unforeseen ways.
During the 1970s and 1980s they Pastored a small church on Little Plains Road and
The church congregation grew tremendously. They continually expanded their outreach including busing programs, youth groups and Vacation Bible Schools, among many other community programs. These programs touched the lives and had a positive impact on many people on the
Eventually outgrowing the small church, God provided the property on
After working with Dr. Cairns who was helping children in Africa,
with a heart for the poor and downtrodden, they began receiving letters from an unknown Pastor in
Struck by the poverty, malnutrition, and spiritual needs they saw in
Starting with only 25 children the
With help from friends, family and other supporters, the mission continues to provide education, food, computer skills and medical assistance to the children of
His later life was spent encouraging all people to engage and participate in Government whether local, national or internationally. His belief was that government should be "by the people and for the people", and not simply for elected leaders who make unilateral decisions for the uninvolved and disinterested masses.
As a result, he constantly encouraged the people to become involved in politics issues to ensure that Constitutional issues such as Freedom Of Speech, Religion and Civil Liberties were upheld for all. He engaged constantly with local and federal politicians, on a wide array of issues, always to ensure that Godly and Constitutional principles were advanced by elected leaders.
Pastor Donald Havrilla was an exemplary model of a true Christian servant of God and the people. He was once referred to by a friend as the "Godfather" of the local
Rev. Havrilla loved and respected all, regardless of agreement on points of view or positions of opinion.
He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the many lives on whom he and his Wife had a positive impact.
He is survived by his beloved Wife of 56 years, Eileen of Southampton, Son Michael Havrilla and Daughter Dayna and her husband George Marinos currently residing in
Viewing will be at the
Food and Beverages will be available during the viewing in the Church Cafeteria both days.
Funeral Services will be held on Friday, May 10, 2019 at 10:30AM followed by a burial ceremony at the
A Reception will be held at the
In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to Mission Reach Out Haiti
C/O Southampton Full Gospel Church