Jan 17th 1959 - May 31st 2012
When reflecting on the life of Rodney Lyons, words such as resourceful, goofy, and loving come to mind. He had a rather unique sense of humor and loved pulling pranks on his family and friends, bringing so much laughter and love to the world around him. Rodney was a devoted father if ever there was one, but he just may have argued that being a grandfather was the role he waited for his whole life. Someone who was willing to work hard, he applied himself to whatever task lay before him and excelled. Life without Rodney will never be the same, but the treasured memories he leaves behind will be cherished by his many friends and loved ones.
America was undergoing great transformation during the late fifties. Huge strides were being made in civil rights and women’s rights while our introduction to rock ‘n roll thanks to legends like Elvis Presley and Jerry Lee Lewis forever altered the music we listen to. Blue jeans became a staple in our wardrobe, and shows like I Love Lucy and Father Knows Best were making their way into living rooms all across our great land. Nestled within this colorful time was the year 1959 that brought great joy to one young couple from Plainwell, Michigan, as they were thrilled to welcome a healthy baby boy into their hearts and home on January 17th. Baby Rodney was the oldest of three children born to his parents, Everett and Nancy (Hale) Lyons, and he was raised in the family home alongside his younger siblings, Kathy and Jeff. His father worked as a tool and die machinist at Checker Motors while his mother worked at Gibson Guitar and Stryker.
In many ways Rodney experienced an upbringing that was reflective of the generation. He loved having fun and established close friendships with Ty Swinehart and Doug Nooney. As a young boy he enjoyed playing boardgames with his family including his especially favorite grandma Hale but he was known to cheat a time or two. Rodney attended Plainwell High School where he played baseball, football and basketball and he was also a member of the track team and wrestled for one year. He was always athletic, especially when it came to baseball where his specialty was stealing bases.
After graduating from high school in 1977, Rodney went on to Ferris State. With a desire to play baseball in college he showed up for tryouts and walked on. Rodney became a valuable asset to the team that year. He got almost an entire year of school in before he stopped taking classes.
In 1982 Rodney married Tammy with whom he was blessed with a beautiful daughter, Lacee. Although they later went their separate ways, he was forever thankful for the daughter and the continued friendship they shared together. It was in 1988 that Rodney married Christine. They were delighted with the births of two children, Stephanie and Shane. They liked taking their children camping when they were younger, and together they all made such priceless memories. They also spent a lot of time boating, tubing and skiing on Pine Lake at Tammy's house.
From the moment he became a father Rodney’s world revolved around his children. He was always pushing the limits of those he loved with jokes, pranks, and jabs--always make everyone laugh--and even had his children convinced he was actually Batman when they were young. Rod could be an incredibly private and quiet man, but always tried to put people at ease and build them up and make them happy. He was so supportive, especially to his kids and grandkids and he constantly reminded them that they were special and why.
He coached soccer for Plainwell, and his son was an excellent player as well. For many years Rodney loved traveling to all the games with Shane as he was always his son's biggest supporter, driving him to Detroit several times a week and around the country on weekends. During these frequent trips, father and son became very close.
To support his family Rodney was more than willing to work hard. His earliest years found him working third shift at Parker, but once he had children he wanted to be more accessible to them so he took a delivery job with Ridderman & Son Oil in Plainwell. Rodney remained there for the rest of his life.
There were so many things that enriched Rodney’s life through the years. Rodney always had dogs growing up and in his adult life he spent time training and enjoying them. Although they were family pets, everyone knew that Rod loved them most. They mainly had labs including Misty, Chester, Whitney, and Rylee. He was very handy, even building his house and most of the things in it (he usually smelled like saw dust from his workship) that he lived in throughout his entire adult life. From the time he became a grandfather Rodney was overjoyed. He loved spending time with his grandchildren as often as he could. Rodney seized every opportunity to babysit them and at times would just show up at their house on his motorcycle and knock on the window to check in on them. Known as “Papa Rod" to Calihan and Caine, he was very special to them both.
When he was young he loved riding motorcycles and driving his Corvettes, owning a 1982 Corvette for many years. Within the last year he returned to his passion, spending most of his free time on his Harley Davidson Road King which brought him peace, joy and a sense of freedom.
Rodney Lyons was truly one of a kind in so many ways. He was a private person who was always loving and supportive of his friends and family in whatever they did. Rodney was kind of a goofball who had a great sense of humor, as long as you understood it, and there was nothing like one of his pranks. He loved all things sports as a player, coach, and spectator, but there was nothing that was ever more near and dear to his heart than his beloved children and grandchildren. A gift in the lives of many, Rodney will be deeply missed and warmly remembered.
Rodney Lyons died on Thursday, May 31, 2012. Rodney’s family includes his parents, Everett “Ronald” & Nancy (Hale) Lyons; children: Lacee (Steven Hatto), Stephanie, and Shane; grandchildren: Calihan and Caine; sister, Kathy; and brother, Jeffery (Georgia) and Nephews Daniel and David Gilmore. Rodney was preceded in death by his grandparents: Charles “Mike” & Florence Hale, Everett & Lucy “Pete” Lyons and Ruth Abrams. Visit with family and friends on Wednesday, June 6th at Life Story Funeral Home; 120 S. Woodhams St. Plainwell (685-5881) from 11:00 – 12:00 with a funeral service at 12:00. Please visit Rodney’s memory page at www.lifestorynet.com where you can sign the guestbook and archive a memory or photos. A trust fund is being set up for his grandchildren in his memory.