Dr. David Walker Nylen
1931 - 2019
Dr. David Walker Nylen
May 2, 1931 - December 29th, 2019
Dr. David Walker Nylen, 88, of DeLand, Fla., passed away on Dec. 29, 2019, after a long battle with dementia. He was a great husband and father, a brilliant academic and author, a savvy businessman and a veteran.
David was born on May 2, 1931, in Cranston, R.I., to C. Victor and Caroline Nylen (nee Daley). Spending his childhood in the Ocean State, he was drawn to the water, and began sailing and racing his own boat as a junior-high student. This lifelong passion for the sea would be a guiding force for the rest of his life.
In 1948, David relocated with his family to Clearwater, Fla., where he graduated from Clearwater High School. He graduated from Duke University as a Phi Beta Kappa member, with a B.A. in Economics in 1952. From there, he was immediately accepted into Harvard Business School, where he completed his M.B.A. in 1954.
David joined the U.S. Navy after graduation, serving at the tail end of the Korean conflict as a Disbursing Officer on the U.S.S. Whiteside and Supply Officer on the U.S.S Hassayampa, stationed out of Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. On his way to his first assignment, he married the love of his life, Carlene Powers Nylen, at Alameda Air Station in San Francisco.
While they were stationed in Hawaii in 1957, David and Carlene's first son, Peter, was born. David completed his active service with the U.S. Navy in 1958 but remained a member of the U.S. Navy Reserves until 1969, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
David and his young family relocated to the mainland upon his completion of military service, where he worked as a case writer for the Harvard Business School, then landed an advertising job in New York City. As one of the original "Mad Men," David led advertising campaigns for multiple high-profile accounts, including Narragansett Beer ("Hi Neighbor!"). When they were living in Norwalk, Conn., and commuting into New York, David and Carlene's second son, Matthew, was born in 1960.
In 1964, David grew tired of the Madison Avenue rat race and the call of the sea drew him back to Florida. He settled in St. Petersburg and bought a 1919 Matthews motor yacht, the Idle Time. This classic 60-foot boat would be his family's home for nearly a decade.
After working in banking in St. Petersburg, David got the itch to return to academia. David received his Ph.D. in marketing, management and economic theory from the University of Florida in 1968 and was now Dr. Nylen. His next move was to Daytona Beach, still on the Idle Time, where he commuted to DeLand to teach at Stetson University's Business School. Dividing his time and passion for teaching and boating, each summer and winter vacation included a cruise on the Idle Time up and down the east coast from Maine to Key West. Some of his favorite cruising destinations included Chesapeake Bay and the sounds and Outer Banks of North Carolina. His daughter, Caroline, was born in 1969.
In 1973, David became one of the founding professors at the brand-new University of North Florida. As his family was now outgrowing the accommodations of the Idle Time, they moved to a delightful beach house in Neptune Beach. After three years at UNF, David was lured back to New York City to work with some of his former Madison Avenue associates at Booz, Allen, and Hamilton for a new product development division. He returned to Greenwich, Conn., and resumed the life of a commuter. While the job was lucrative and rewarding, when Stetson University called to offer him the deanship of the business school there, he relished the opportunity to return to both academia and Florida in 1979.
David led the business school to national accreditation and academic prominence; he also wrote two highly acclaimed college textbooks in Advertising and Marketing that were published in multiple editions and widely used across the United States. But all through these years and into his retirement in 1992, he continued his passion for cruising to far-flung destinations across the U.S. and the Caribbean.
Two of David's children followed him into academia. Dr. Peter MacDougall Nylen led a long and distinguished career as a math professor at Auburn University. Caroline Nylen Luzzato is both a published author of children's books and an elementary educator in Virginia. His other son, Matthew Walker Nylen, rose to Director of Finance with Lockheed Martin Missiles and Fire Control in Orlando.
David is survived by his wife of 63 years, his three children, six grandchildren and one great granddaughter. He is predeceased by his father, C. Victor Nylen, mother Caroline Nylen and sister Barbara Nylen Muntyan.
In lieu of flowers, the family prefers donations in his memory to Halifax Health Hospice, the Alzheimer's Association or Stetson University.
Published by Daytona Beach News-Journal from Jan. 6 to Jan. 7, 2020.
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