He then earned a bachelor of divinity degree from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and later a master's degree in sacred theology from Temple University.
In June 1950, he was ordained at Brandywine Baptist Church in Chadds Ford, where he was pastor until 1957, when he was appointed to Springfield Baptist Church.
Besides ministering at Springfield Baptist, Pastor Avila was secretary to the Delaware County Fundamental Ministerium; served as chaplain at Taylor Hospital; chaired the steering committee at Jezreel Baptist Church in West Chester; and was director at the Junior High Camp at Sunnybrook. He was past president of the Portuguese Baptist Convention of New England; the Springfield Ministerium; and the American Baptist Churches of Pennsylvania and Delaware. He was moderator of the Riverside Baptist Association, and he served on the board and as past president of the Alumni Association of Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary, which awarded him an honorary doctorate in 1981.
He mentored many young people, and several became ordained ministers, his family said.
After retiring in 1991 from Springfield Baptist, Pastor Avila served as interim pastor at area churches, including First Baptist in Malvern, Middletown Baptist Church in Media, and Belmont Baptist in Broomall.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a son, Reuben; daughters Elizabeth Sharpe and Deborah; nine grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. A son, Paul, died in 1972.
Friends may call from 7 to 9 p.m. at Kovacs Funeral Home, 530 W. Woodland Ave., Springfield, and from 9:30 a.m. until the funeral at 11 at Springfield Baptist Church, 184 N. Norwinden Dr., Springfield, Pa. 19064. Burial will be in Brandywine Baptist Church Cemetery, Chadds Ford.
Donations may be made to the Paul Avila Scholarship Fund at Springfield Baptist Church.
Contact Sally A. Downey
at 215-854-2913 or firstname.lastname@example.org.