An acoustic guitar is valued for its warmth and understated timbre; it possesses an instrumental yet unassuming sound, full of life but never overpowering.
In a June, 2011 interview for a business profile on Pottstown Patch, Galen C. Royer Sr. was very much like an acoustic guitar. Soft-spoken yet enthusiastic, his eyes sparkled when he recalled leaving his optometry business to open Ben's Music on Charlotte Street in 1986.
"I started really before I retired from that business," he said on that hot summer day. "I knew I'd get too old someday for the optical business and I did get too old. But the guitar world is a fun place."
Royer joined his son Galen Royer Jr., the proprietor of Downtown Records and Tapes, to merge their two stores in 2007. There, father and son sold music and the means to make it, carving a niche with a focus on customer service that included special ordering CDs and Royer Sr.'s promise to back his guitar repairs "100 percent."
Royer Sr. died on Wednesday. He was 85 years old.
According to an obituary, Royer Sr. was widower of Dorothy M. (Bartchak) Royer, his wife of 62 years. A 1944 graduate of Pottstown High School, he was also a U. S. Army veteran.
He is survived by his sons Royer Jr. of Pottstown and David Royer of Manheim.
Royer Sr. was a longtime member of the First United Methodist Church of Pottstown, which he helped run as harmoniously as the six strings in his shop.
"Galen was an indispensable member of the congregation," said First United Methodist Pastor Will Humes. Humes on Saturday spoke warmly of Royer Sr. and painted an image of a man who was integral to church life. "He served on the church council for many years. He served on the Board of Trustees for 41 years and was president of the board for 40 (years)."
Royer Sr. meant more to First United Methodist than just administrative leadership.
"He was one of the kindest, most genuine people I have ever known," Humes said. "He was irreplaceable. He meant the world to a lot of members and he meant the world to me."
Funeral services will be held at Schumacher & Benner Funeral Home on March 13. The family will receive friends from noon to 1 p.m. before a private burial. Donations in Galen C. Royer Sr.'s name may be made to First United Methodist Church.