Stephen Joseph Lyons, Jr.
White River Jct., Vt. — Stephen Lyons passed away gracefully on Christmas Eve, Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2013, while his family who were gathered by his bedside were singing Silent Night. It was a sad yet sweet ending for a man who loved Christmas. He had battled cancer for over 10 years.
Steve was born on March 31, 1934, to Wilhelmina Hartman and Stephen Joseph Lyons. He is survived by his loving wife of nearly 40 years, Karen; his sister, Mary Floyd of Torrington, Conn.; his son, Stephen and spouse, Jolan of Flemington, N.J.; daughters, Lenore and spouse, Diane Thayer of Centerville, Mass., Lisa Duffin and spouse, Robert, of Winchester, Va., Jeanne Campsie and spouse, Scott of Summerville, S.C.; and eight grandchildren, Natalia (Luke) Herman, Katalin Lyons, Jesse (Luisa) Lyons, Rya Lyons, Erin Duffin, Ryan Duffin, Colin Campsie and Paige Campsie; and his former wife, Anne Flinn of Flemington, N.J. His cats Celia and Gobinski comforted him during his last days as only pets can do.
Stephen Lyons was raised in Westwood, N.J. He graduated from Cardinal Farley Military Academy in Rhinecliff, N.Y. and went on to attend Villanova University graduating in 1955 and was commissioned as an ensign in the US Navy. During his tour of duty he traveled to the South Pacific, the Phillipines, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Yokosuka, Japan aboard the ship USS Pollux where he served as as an assistant gunnery and engineering officer. After his return to civilian life he graduated from the McAllister Institute of Funeral Service and became a licensed funeral director. He owned and operated the Lyons Funeral Home with his father for over 20 years.
During this time he was a Volunteer Firefighter where he enjoyed driving the ladder truck. He was a member of the Westwood Chapter of Rotary International. He belonged to the St. Thomas More Council of Knights of Columbus.
After selling Lyons Funeral Home in 1982, Stephen and Karen moved to Serenity Hill Farm in Vermont to start a new lifestyle. They were happy homesteaders — everything on their table came from their land. They had a giant vegetable garden and apple trees, they raised turkeys, goats for milk, cows for beef, pigs for pork, sheep for meat and wool. He wore many hats, he was a carpenter, he was a respected professional limousine driver for Hallmark Limousines and People Movers.
Steve and Karen enjoyed a rich life together with good friends, supportive church communities and plenty of time to make beautiful wooden furniture. He joined the North Country Chordsmen, and sang in a barbershop quartet with his deep bass voice. Dad published the group’s monthly newsletter for years. He was honored to be named Barbershopper of the Year in 1986.
After his grandchildren were born, Steve found a new calling, Santa Claus. He said he went to Kmart to get a suit and he was in business. He entertained his eight grandchildren and hundreds of other children in his community.
Steve always loved to drive, when he turned 60, he bought a powder blue Lincoln and started a new business, Lyons Limousine Ltd.
After five years, he sold the business and bought an RV. Karen and dad crisscrossed the United States from Maine to the Florida Keys, Texas and California seeing well known national treasures and finally a trip of a lifetime to Alaska. Their travels took them to the North Pole where they visited the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska. Steve and Karen were made aware of the large community with many parishioners living in poverty. The family would appreciate donations in his memory to the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska, 1312 Peger Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709.
Steve was diagnosed with cancer in November of 2001. The following year they began wintering in Pine Island, Fla. It was there that he discovered a new passion, woodcarving with his campground buddies and the Caloosa Carvers of Fort Meyers. Over the years he developed into a prize winning wood carver and has had numerous first, second and third place ribbons.
Dad was the family historian; he published what he referred to as the leading New England monthly Dadz Newz with “all the news that is fit to print and some that is not”. He was a skilled photographer; his issues were filled with photos, articles, comics and family news. These were mailed to family and friends across the United States, Europe and Asia. He documented family celebrations, academic achievements, travel, births and deaths for over 23 years. He published his final edition just this past June.
His last week was spent with his family by his side. We all had different plans for this Christmas but somehow, Steve gathered us all together at his bedside for his last holiday celebration. His family is grateful for the loving care Steve received through Bayada Hospice.
Visiting hours will be held at the Knight Funeral Home in White River Jct., on Friday, Dec. 27 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. A Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated Saturday, Dec. 28 at 11 a.m. at St. Anthony’s Church with burial following in the Mt. Olivet Cemetery, both in White River Jct. Memorial contributions may be made to the Catholic Bishop of Northern Alaska, 1312 Peger Road, Fairbanks, Alaska 99709
Condolences may be expressed to Steve’s family in an online guestbook at www.knightfuneralhomes.com.