Father’s Day can be a tough one for many of us who have lost our fathers. In my case, my dad was the reason I became a journalist, as I followed in his footsteps. He’s still the best writer I will ever encounter.
And then there’s Lloyd Eisler, the pairs figure skater, who is both saddened and joyous about Father’s Day, as he lost his dad last year. We caught up with Lloyd and his wife Kristy Swanson at the recent opening celebration of Lorimar Winery in Temecula on 22 gorgeous Tuscan-style acres. As guests of owners, brother-in-laws Mark Manfield and Lawrie Lipton, the duo was having a romantic “date night” sipping wine and enjoying resident Chef Kurt Ehrlich’s cuisine. Lloyd’s a wine connoisseur and he is proud of the wine cellar he has created in the duo’s Santa Clarita home.
“My father was a great influence in my life,” he said. “He always reminded me to enjoy my sport. He would ask, ‘Are you having fun today?’ It helped me relax, which is important when you are dealing with that kind of pressure.”
Serving in the Canadian navy for 20 years, Lloyd’s dad worked in the restaurant business before becoming a truck driver. “He was a hard-working man with an incredible love for his family. He had worked 18-19 hours a day and then gave everything to his children.”
Besides Kristy, the light of Lloyd’s eyes is his three children. “They are everything to me. You can say I am a hands-on father.” Besides being a dad of five-year-old Magnus (Hart Swanson Eisler) with Kristy, Lloyd has two younger children Ethan and Seth from his previous marriage. “Three boys are a handful, but I love it. I can’t imagine my life without them.”
The two-time Olympic bronze medalist says all three kids have different personalities and each is a challenge. “There’s nothing like unconditional love from a child. You can have the toughest business day, but the minute you spend some time with one of your kids, everything else seems to melt away.”
The Canadian native learned to skate when he was seven. Seven years later, he skated into the Junior World Championships. “I then realized I might have a future in skating.”
After representing his country four times, the skater retired from the Olympics at age 31. He later turned professional and toured with Scott Hamilton, Brian Boitano, Nancy Kerrigan, and Michelle Kwan for 14 years.
Lloyd said he is an outdoors person. “I love living inL.A.I can be in the snow in a couple hours with my kids, but also swim every day,” he said.
Feeling right at home in Temecula, he had a chance to taste and decide if he wanted to add any of the winery’s Cabernet Mourvedre, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese, Grenache, Muscat Canelli, or Viognier to his wine cellar.
Sue Facter owns a news agency specializing in the luxury brand. Her work appears in USA Today, Los Angeles Times, Greer’s OC, and Women’s Day Australia as well as on broadcasts and the web. Follow her on Twitter @TheFacter.