Alfred Whitney Lyon, 91, passed away at his sixth generation family farm home on Sunday, Nov. 5, 2017 surrounded by his loving family.
Whitney was born on Sept. 17, 1926 to the late John and Ruth (Lister) Lyon. He was one of the first babies to be born at the James Decker Munson Hospital. Whitney was the second of eight children.
Whitney married Mary Rose Clous on Aug. 20, 1955. They raised ten wonderful children, as they continued to farm on the Old Mission Peninsula.
Whitney spent his life as a farmer, this was his life's passion. He was actively involved on the 100 acre fruit farm until this past Oct. He loved to drive the tractor and the shaker during the cherry harvest season. Whitney was most proud that the family farm is now in its sixth generation. His loving and devoted wife, Mary, enjoys showing off the farm to visitors to the area and since 1999 over 5,000 people have toured the farm.
In 2013, Whitney was honored by the National Cherry Festival with a lifetime achievement award.
Whitney and Mary joined St. Joseph's Catholic Church in 1971. Whitney was an usher, parish council president, and right hand man to all the priests at their parish. On Aug. 5, 2017, they were honored with the first ever Discipleship award, named in their honor.
A very active member of Elks Lodge #323, Whitney and Mary enjoyed their Friday night dinners there. In June of 1996, Whitney received the lifetime member award. He loved to help out at the summer picnic where he earned the title of resident "Cornoligist" as the official corn on the cob chef.
Whitney is survived by his devoted wife of 62 years, Mary. His ten children, Juanita Cole (William Stark), Diana (Jon) Lyon-Schumacher, John (Gloria) Lyon, Frank (Genevieve) Lyon, Raymond (Angela) Lyon, Michael Lyon, Doris (Rick) Ellery, Philip (Patti) Lyon, Donald (Shelly) Lyon, and Lura (Michael) Ruede. Whitney was a PROUD grandpa to Jennifer (Tom) Johnson, Christopher Lyon, Daniel (Katie) Lyon, Mathew (Shannon) Lyon, Ariel Lyon, Jack Lyon, James Lyon, Katherine Lyon, Kevin Lyon, Tyler Lyon, Mary Elizabeth Lyon, Morgan Lyon, Hannah Ellery, Austin Lyon, Autumn Lyon and Holly (Nate) Glidden. Also surviving are his great-grandchildren, Ryan and Kyle Johnson, Sophia Lyon and Gabe and Lily Glidden. Whitney was also known as "Grandpa" to the hundreds of children that Mary and Whitney provided child care to for over 50 years.
Additionally, Whitney is survived by his two sisters, Patricia French and Fran Wiarda; brother, David (Ann) Lyon; and brother-in-law, Larry Vogel. He was preceded in death by his sisters, Nesta Jereb, Betty Vogel, Marie Drulard; his brother, Morris Lyon and son-in-law, Victor Cole.
The family wishes to thank Heartland Hospice for the outstanding and compassionate care that they provided Whitney this past year. Also, a special thank you to nurse Hanna, as Whitney thought so highly of Hanna and enjoyed the care and visits.
Please join the family at a visitation on Wednesday, Nov. 8 from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. at St. Joseph's Church, 12675 Center Road, Traverse City. The Mass of Christian Burial will be celebrated on Thursday Nov. 9 at 10 a.m. at St Joseph's. There will be a visitation one hour prior to the mass. Inurnment will be in the St. Joseph Cemetery Columbarium.
Please join the family for a luncheon at the Elks Lodge following the service. Leading Elk officers will honor Whitney with their Service of Remembrance.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the St. Joseph's Church Debt Retirement Campaign or to the Peninsula Community Library.
Please share your memories and thoughts with Whitney's family by visiting his online tribute page at www.reynolds-jonkhoff.com.
Published on November 7, 2017