Carl Vernon Lyon
Born on: January 20, 1925
Departed on: November 21, 2016
Service: Memorial Service at Gainesville United Methodist Church on January 21, 2016
Carl Vernon Lyon, age 91, died on November 21, 2016. An insulin dependent diabetic for over 50 years, he died of kidney failure and other complications arising from his diabetes. Born and raised in Clarksburg, West Virginia, he graduated from West Virginia Wesleyan College, held a Masters Degree from The American University (Washington, D.C.), and a Law Degree from George Washington University.
One of his most memorable achievements was his appointment in 1969 as the Deputy Federal Railroad Administrator (an agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation), where he served for three years, including over a year as the Acting Administrator. During that period, when railroads were losing huge amounts of money providing rail passenger service, Mr. Lyon was deeply involved in the planning and development of the Government sponsored Amtrak System.
Mr. Lyon started working for the Association of American Railroads while in graduate school, and as an attorney, handled a number of national cases before the Interstate Commerce Commission and other agencies and courts. He left the Association as its Senior Vice President in 1978 and became a Vice President of San Francisco based Itel Corporation, which owned several small railroads. After working for Itel, Mr. Lyon opened a law office in Georgetown and represented Itel, as well as many other small and regional railroads for the next ten years before he retired. Mr. Lyon testified many times before Committees of both the U.S. House and U.S. Senate.
Mr. Lyon lived a life of service. He began by serving for 3 years in the U.S. Navy as a radioman in the South Pacific theatre during World War II. He was very active in the Fairfax County Republican Party during 1950-1960, serving as chair of Fairfax County and 10th Congressional District mass meetings, and chairing successful campaigns for the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and U.S. House of Representatives. From 1964-1968, he served on the Fairfax County School Board, during the desegregation of the Fairfax County public school system.
From 1971-1978, Mr. Lyon was appointed to the George Mason University Board of Visitors. This Board was the first one appointed after the University became independent from the University of Virginia and operated during a time of tremendous growth. Mr. Lyon also served on the Board of Trustees for West Virginia Wesleyan College for 18 years and was its chairman for the last five years of his tenure.
A long-time member of the Springfield United Methodist Church, he served as Lay Leader and as chair of its Trustees, Administrative Board, Council on Ministries and virtually every committee of the Church. He also wrote the second chapter of the history of the Church covering 1970-1984. At the time of his death, he was a member and former chair of the Trustees of the Gainesville United Methodist Church, where he sang in the choir and provided legal assistance.
An avid golfer, Mr. Lyon was a member of the Country Club of Fairfax from 1967-1999, during which he served as a member of the Board of Directors and a term as its President. He moved to Gainesville in 1999, and became a member of the Heritage Hunt Golf Club and sang in the Men’s Chorus.
He is survived by Willa (Billy) Lyon, his wife of 67 years, and five sons, David of Carlsbad, California, Thomas of Potomac Falls, Virginia, Michael of Cardiff-by-the-Sea, California, Jonathan of Potomac Falls, Virginia, Daniel of Ashburn, Virginia, and his foster daughter, Geanne Finney of Brooklyn, New York. He had 12 grandchildren, 4 great grandchildren and a surviving sister, Jane Rhoades of Mt. Vernon, Ohio.
A Memorial Service will be held for Mr. Lyon at Gainesville United Methodist Church on January 21, 2016. Any remembrances should be sent to West Virginia Wesleyan College, Buckhannon, West Virginia 26201.