Sylvester Armand St. Cyr passed away in his sleep earlier this month. It was a peaceful transition for a very productive, prolific member of the cast of the human stage and arena. Sylvester St. Cyr joined the Christian Skydivers Association in October 1994, number 215. He was a retired teacher, actor/writer, a member of POPS, SOS and jumped at Perris Valley, California. He had made over 1,000 skydives.
Sylvester was a spokesman and recruiter for the CSA at POPS and SOS meets throughout the country and in Canada and Australia. In May 2001 he organized the First International CSA Freefall Fellowship at Perris Valley.
Sport parachuting was not the only adventure that Sylvester knew. A paratrooper in the US ARMY in the early 1950's, he was also a two-time boxing champion and coach of the championship team while on duty in Korea. Following his stint in the military he became an undercover narcotics officer for the New Orleans Police Department. As a New Orleans patrolman, he was the victim of kidnapping and attempted murder. He escaped by defying the perpetrator's orders to run a police road block with his cruiser and instead aimed it at a tree and jumped just prior to the vehicle's impact.
His adventures in undercover work and the characters he met provided the background material for his book, The Saint and Sinners.
Sylvester was also an authority on New Orleans style jazz musicians. His father, Johnnie St. Cyr played in Louis Armstrong's band and with many other popular musicians. He grew up in the music business and learned it first hand.
His acting career spanned movies, television and most notably the stage. Sylvester appeared in at least fifty stage productions including "Guys and Dolls," "The Philadelphia Story," "A Raisin in the Sun," and "A Soldier's Play." In addition, he also performed stunt work.
In his later years, Sylvester, nicknamed L'Ange Noir or The Black Angel, teamed up with his long time friend Paul H. LaCroix to perform skydiving exhibitions, especially for high schools. LaCroix and St. Cyr, both from New Orleans, had known each other since 1947. LaCroix piloted their airplane, a Cessna 172. Often accompanied by Bob Pruitt, they claimed to be the only Black Skydiving Team in America. Sylvester lost his pilot and old friend this past summer when LaCroix also passed away.
St. Cyr often filled the counselor role in his earlier work as a teacher. He was always concerned with the lack of direction in some of the young men that he met. "They think that the only way to make it is professional sports," he once said. Sylvester wanted to demonstrate that the sky's the limit for opportunities and furthermore, pro sports is open only for a few.
L'Ange Noir has flown into eternity to join his beloved Jesus Christ. We will miss him but pray that his example will remain a strong vision to those that gather at the drop zones and venues around the country where he left his smile, his love and his encouragement.
This is a Eulogy for Sylvester "Saint" St. Cyr by Ron Schott, CSA1 of the Christian Skydivers Association.
Sylvester Armand St. Cyr
West Covina, California
29 May 31 - 3 Jan 02
by Ron Schott, CSA1