Gerald Lyons, that staunch Mason Neck advocate, untiring volunteer and friendly neighbor, died on Thursday, Aug. 16. He was 74.
"He was a dear," said Sallie Lyons, of her husband of 42 years. "He loved to do his art and share his ideas with people. He wasn't happy if he wasn't doing something artistic for a good reason."
Lyons, a talented graphic designer with a wickedly sharp wit, passed away after suffering from a stroke on Aug. 10.
"Jerry", as his friends called him, was born on Feb. 1, 1938, in Springfield, IL. He studied architecture at Southern Illinois University and Washington University in St. Louis, before he was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1961. Lyons served two years in the Army, and it was there that he got a penchant for creating graphic designs.
In 1970, Lyons married his wife, Sallie, and also started work at HNTB Corporation, where he headed aviation graphics until his retirement in 2005. The couple are parents to a daughter, Savanna.
The Lyons family moved to Mason Neck in 1984. Over the years, Mr. Lyons served as a member of the Mason Neck Citizens Association Board, the Seeds of Independence research project at , was a founding board member of the Friends of Fairfax County Archaeology and Cultural Resources and created graphic design posters for and the . He also designed, at no charge, the two roadside historical displays on Old Colchester and Gunston Rd.
"I don't mind doing pro bono jobs," . "I'm glad to do it. I understand the depth of the LCAC's needs and the size of their clientele."
Mount Vernon District Supervisor Gerry Hyland knew Lyons for 25 years, and considered him a good friend. "He was our conscience in Mason Neck, and never failed to talk about what he thought was right or wrong, and people respected him for it," Hyland told Patch. "Whenever I saw him I knew that I was going to hear from a person who was going to add to the discussion. I love people like that."
Andrea Cochrane Tracey is the Development Director for the LCAC. "I am just crushed. He was such an inspiration," she said. "He had warmth, humor, tenacity. He was funny, passionate. What a loss. He will be dearly, dearly missed."
The sentiment was echoed by Lucia Ferguson, president of the Mason Neck Citizens Association. "He was just the best. I don't know if there is anyone that could ever fill his shoes," she said. "He will be missed. His contributions and his knowledge of the area leave a big void."
Dick Kennedy was a friend and neighbor with Lyons for more than 20 years. "He was extremely easygoing," said Kennedy. "And he was very funny. He had a great sense of humor and was a very talented graphic artist."
Visitation will be held this Sunday, Aug. 26, from 5 - 7 p.m. at in Woodbridge.
Funeral services will be on Monday, Aug. 27, at 10 a.m. at . Interment will follow in the Pohick Church cemetery. After the services, there will be a reception at Gunston Hall.
In lieu of flowers, the family asks that all donations be made in memory of Gerald Lyons to the Lorton Community Action Center or Gunston Hall.