Richard W. Lyons, 87, our most loving and supportive Dad, Pap Pap, Hap Pap & Great Pap Pap passed away suddenly but peacefully and rose to heaven on May 9, 2022.
Dick was born in the “big city” of Cumberland, MD on April 2, 1935, at 9:35 AM to Leota & William Lyons but they resided in Patterson Creek, WV. Dick grew up very poor, lived in a one room house next to the railroad track where the family only dreamed of indoor plumbing. The house would shake when the train went by. He would chase chickens on their land and get them ready for his mom to cook for supper. A fancy dessert was a bowl of saltines, with milk, blueberries and a sprinkle of sugar on top. He went to school in a one room schoolhouse but was intelligent enough to skip a grade in school. He loved to play baseball in the pastures in the hills of WV. He started college at Potomac State in Keyser, WV still playing baseball in his spare time. Dick was the first in his family to ever attend college. During his college years, his father worked laying railroad track for the B & O railroad in WV and had a union job opportunity in Akron, Ohio so the family left the WV hills for life in Akron, where the opportunity also arose for their first house with indoor plumbing on Bacon Avenue! There Dad started at Kent State University. Still enjoying playing baseball, he caught the eye of the Kent State baseball coach who asked him to play baseball for KSU. He played baseball for Kent State University for 2 years. Dick joined the Phi Sigma Kappa Fraternity. He continued at KSU to complete his master’s program. It was at Kent State that he met Plummy, and they wed in April 1959 @ St. Francis Catholic Church in Gates Mills, Ohio. Dick was born into the Methodist faith, but he converted to Catholicism to marry mom. He held those convictions close to his heart, practicing love, kindness, honesty, and love of God daily instilling in us children what a good person should be like. He never said no if someone needed help. A few years after they were married, his very strict Methodist father asked him “what are those Catholics like?” Dad said he chuckled and told him that he learned nothing but the best from the Catholic faith and that God loves us all no matter what faith we practice.
Country music, that was his music, especially Johnny Cash “I Walk the Line” with a little Glenn Campbell “Rhinestone Cowboy” and even though not country Neil Diamond’s “Lonely Looking Sky”.
Dick started his work career at age 22 with Connecticut General Life Insurance Company, office being on Portage Path. It was so much fun to run around his office on Saturday’s, eat candy and Jill got to play secretary with the telephone message pads. Patrick would go with to the office on Saturday mornings and liked playing with the hands free speaker phone like on Charlie's Angels. He spent the next 65 years serving his clients until his passing on May 9, 2022. As a Chartered Life Underwriter and Chartered Financial Consultant, Dick served as an insurance, investment and retirement plan advisor for corporate and individual clients in OH and FL. He served as the former President of the Akron Chapter of the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors, former President of the Tax and Estate Planning Council of Akron and former President of the Cleveland-Akron Chapter of the Society of Financial Service Professionals. He also served as a member of the Board of Directors of privately held corporations. Dick was very respected in the business community and Fairlawn Kiwanis, he was given the utmost respect by those who knew him.
Dad was also the best dressed guy around town with his shoes always polished and his clothes always tailored & pressed. City Laundry & Dry Cleaners said he was their biggest customer. He polished his shoes every night after work. When Jill was a little girl over on Morley Avenue, he would sing the Franki Valli and The Four Seasons song “Big Girls Don’t Cry” as he polished his shoes. Someone once told us he was a combination between Paul Newman and Tony Randall. Dad was the only guy we all knew that got his Nike athletic shorts hemmed!!!
While we were kids, Dad still loved baseball and loved being involved in WABL (West Akron Baseball League) for many years on the Executive committee and coaching. He coached Chris & Patrick for many, many years making great ball players out of both. Jill was always the scorekeeper on the bench. He LOVED it! He wouldn’t hesitate to take a ½ day off work to rake, drag and line fields for his team’s game that night, that also meant we got McDonald’s for dinner! Dad was also involved in starting the WABL softball league for girls which Jill was part in their inaugural year. Dad taught Jill how to play softball which gave her the opportunity to play in high school. Dick also played softball in a men’s league when we were young, the team was called “TC Miller Realty”. The men on that team were dad’s friends for a long, long time. After those softball games, there was always a trip to Riviera Lanes for all the players children where we would eat burgers, fries and run around the bowling alley!
Dad also coached Chris & Patrick in basketball down at St. Sebastian’s. He played at the Akron Jewish Center in the over 30 basketball leagues for many years until his late 60's. In his later years playing he was not only dressed in his “uniform” but also added goggles and knee pads to his game day wardrobe. He loved the Los Angeles Lakers to this day and especially back in Pat Riley’s coaching days. He was obsessed with Coach Riley’s great hair and wardrobe.
Dick was a fabulous dad and provider to Plummy and their 3 children, Jill, Chris & Patrick. There was nothing we needed or did without in our childhood. Dad was so devoted to Mom, called everyday at 5:45 and said he was on his way home from work, he helped with dinner dishes every night, helped sweep the kitchen floor and would walk Mac every night. He would make the grandest entrances into every family gathering, sporting event or store by carrying Plummy’s HUGE crazy colored purses over his shoulder. When Mom was ill and having a hard time getting around, he tried to give her everything he possibly could. He would sit at the nail salon, hair salon, and a long, long time at the cosmetics counter. He would sit by her bed every night, rub her feet, watch the Hallmark movie channel, pick up Swenson’s at all hours because she would ask. He did everything for her, he truly loved her to the very end. No other husband was devoted to his wife as him. After mom's passing, dad placed a photo of her in the passenger seat of his car to be with him and would say goodbye to her and her photo on the kitchen counter every time he left the house.
Dad started his life with nothing in the hills of West Virginia but made himself into something. He worked hard, studied hard, took care of his family, and grew it into a life full of accomplishment, respect, faith in God, love, and kindness towards others. We are so proud of our father. Dad was so kind; we were always concerned that someone was trying to take advantage of him, so we always had a cautious eye.
Dad loved his four granddaughters; he tried his best to attend their events, their high school soccer games and even made it down to the University of Cincinnati to watch Amy & Kristin play during their collegiate careers. Mom & Dad made it to quite a few of Jen & Kristin’s high school basketball games as well because he was his granddaughter’s biggest fan. Dad never forgot to ask how the great grandchildren were whenever he saw Jill, although the last year he couldn’t remember which child went with which granddaughter (geez, there’s only 9 great grandchildren) but it is the kind thought that counts. He also loved having Clare sleep over after mom passed away.
Jill and Patrick will miss taking care of this happy ol’ fella as we have for the past two years. Jill would bring him down Emidio’s spaghetti & meatballs or hang out with him at Pavona’s ordering a pepperoni and green pepper pizza and a dry gin martini. He loved Pavona’s and spent many dinners there with Clare. Jill and Patrick would joke that it is the new “Amber Pub” for him! Boy, Dick loved a good meal at the Amber Pub for many, many years and enjoyed talking to all the staff whom he considered friends and socializing with all the other customers.
We will miss our conversations of us trying to explain to Dad how people work from home now because they work on a computer, how an iPhone works, what the internet is, how Tim does his own paperwork and work travel arrangements. The working world of 2,000’s was something he just couldn’t grasp but he was cute about it. Oh my, trying to get Dad to work a microwave, well, forget about that, he never did learn! Thank you for teaching me to always be on time!
We will miss you Dad. We all wish you didn’t have to leave us so soon, we don’t understand what happened those two days nor will we ever but thank you for teaching us everything great about you. Heaven must have needed you more that day. “Lonely Looking Sky” must have been how you felt that day missing mom so much that it was time for you to go to her.
Richard is preceded in death by his beautiful wife, Nelda (Plummy) in 2020 and son Christopher in 2005. He is survived by his devoted children; Jillian (Tim) May; son; Patrick (Catherine); 4 granddaughters; Jennifer (Brian) Rabel, Amy (Jason) Forristal, Kristin (Evan) Horomanski and Clare Lyons, and 9 great-grandchildren.
We love you …Give mom a kiss from us and give Chris a big hug. Rest in peace, God’s hands hold you now…we will keep up the good work here for you.
-Jill and Patrick
Mass of Christian Burial 12p.m. Saturday, May 21, 2022 at Guardian Angels Catholic Church, 1676 Cleveland-Massillon Rd. in Copley, where friends may call 10-12. Interment at Rose Hill Burial Park.
*Hap Pap was not spelled in error, he was called Pap Pap & Hap Pap & Great Pap Pap