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Gary Fred Lyon

10/15/1936 - 07/16/2020
Service Date: 07/22/2020
Service Time: 9:00 am
Service Location: City of Mesa Cemetery
Interment: City of Mesa Cemetery

Gary Fred Lyon

1936 – 2020

On Thursday, July 16th, 2020, Gary Fred Lyon passed away at the age of 83. Gary was born in North Odgen, Utah in 1936 to George Albert Lyon and Edna Caroline Berrett. He was the youngest of his six siblings; Sterling Richard, Anna Beth, Roland George, Myra, Maxine Evelyn and Kathleen. Gary is survived by his beloved wife, Rita Kay Grant, his sister Kathleen, his children; Gary Grant and wife Jill Louise (McIff), Richard Roland and wife Stephanie Kay (Rodabough), Rita Ann and husband Edwin Munoz, Pamela Kay and husband Jeffrey Webb Crockett, Leisann Joi and husband Derrick Jon Dickerson, and Howard Van and wife Shari Elle (Lunt). Gary was also the proud grandfather to 34 grandchildren, including spouses, and 16 (soon to be 17) great-grandchildren.

Gary’s life was defined by his love for his family, his dedication to his faith and his love of learning, teaching and invention. Those that knew him spoke of his kindness, wisdom and intelligence. He was truly brilliant, by any definition.

Most of his career was spent as a teacher and Department Chair of Technology at Mesa Community College, where he taught courses in mathematics and technology. He also worked for Motorola and did work for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

He designed a radio that was used by NASA to communicate from earth with astronauts on the moon and also helped to write the program that determined how to calculate the size and placement of the tiles that protected the Space Shuttle. He also has a patent to his name for “Electroresponsive Controls – Patent #3,428,820”.

Gary was never one to seek out the spotlight and listened more than he spoke. He was a wonderful counselor to those in need of wisdom and he gave his time and experience freely to those who asked and to those in whom he saw a need.

In his early life, he enjoyed the hobby of building and flying RC airplanes. He was also always interested in home improvement and carpentry. He had a strong foundation in architecture and design and was always designing something new for his house and yard. His Mesa home of 46 years was ever-evolving as needs changed or new opportunities for improvement arose. Many of his kids and grandkids have beds, easels, displays, toys and other custom pieces of woodwork that were crafted with love for each person.

He had a laugh and smile that spread to those around him and you could feel his genuine, charitable spirit through his countenance. Gary had a love for problem solving and his mind was very well suited to this task. You could present a problem and he would immediately start processing the challenge, coming up with solutions. This led him to invent many tools and gadgets to help around the house and work. That same thoughtful mind was also beneficial to those seeking his insights into whatever challenges they might be facing in their own life.

Gary Lyon was a deeply spiritual man and was at ease discussing profound and meaningful issues relating to eternity, God and the purpose of life. That spirituality led his life of service to others. He served three missions for his church, one as a young man in the California Mission and later with his wife, Rita in the Hartford, Connecticut mission and again with Rita as teachers of English to Somali refugees. He also served faithfully in a wide range of callings in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. It was in his nature that those whom he served with became life-long friends as they observed his character and wisdom and came to love him.

One of Gary’s favorite hymns was the insightful “O My Father” whose words were written by Eliza R. Snow. Here is the fourth verse:

When I leave this frail existence,
When I lay this mortal by,
Father, Mother, may I meet you
In your royal courts on high?
Then, at length, when I’ve completed
All you sent me forth to do,
With your mutual approbation
Let me come and dwell with you.


  • Stephen and Carolei Phelps

    We have known Gary and Rita for many years. This thoughtful obituary/tribute really says it all… kindness, thoughtfulness, faith… these and other attributes defined a true gentleman and great friend. Our love to Rita and all their family.

  • Stephen Phelps

    Forgot to add a special remembrance and thoughts of love for “Pami” — whom I taught piano lessons to, many years ago. Prayers and hugs your way, Pami.

  • Robert & Linda Cochran

    Dear Rita and family,
    We were so sorry to hear of Gary’s passing. Our daughter, Kelly let know. We have loved our association with your family over the years, as Rob had your children in seminary at Poston and then what a blessing to have served with you, Rita and Gary in the Mesa Temple. You both gave of your time so freely to serve the Lord in His Holy House. It was so wonderful to always see you both there. You and Gary are some of the Lord’s best! We send our love and prayers for comfort to you and your family and know that the Lord will bless you. He loves you!
    Thank you both for your wonderful examples of service and love. Love, Robert & Linda Cochran

  • Pam Rash Helmandollar

    Dear Aunt Rita and kids,
    I was so very sorry to hear from aunt Kitty about Uncle Gary’s passing. I have memories of him as a small child when he lived in Logan with Grandma and Grandpa Lyon. He had the biggest smile. I remember looking at model planes or cars that he had made. He came to visit me last year when he was in American Fork visiting cousin Howie (Howard). I was so honored to have him in my home. I loved going on road trip with uncle Gary, Aunt Rita and toddler Grant from Smithfield to California to see Uncle Roland. I fell in love with them, especially Aunt Rita. She was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen and the sweetest.
    I feel so blessed to be a Lyon and to have had such good examples influence me.

    Pamela Rash Helmandollar

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