Donald A. Lyon

WESTERLO — Donald A. Lyon was “a very humble and selfless person who would identify a need in the Hilltowns and connect that need to people who had a burden to fill that need,” said his son, David Lyon. 

A beloved pastor, Donald A. Lyon died peacefully on Sunday, Oct. 27, 2019, at Albany Medical Center, surrounded by his family. He was 79.

He was born on Aug, 8, 1940 in Matamoras, Pennsylvania to the late Robert and Shirley Taynton Lyon. After graduating from Delaware Valley Joint High School, he attended Philadelphia College of Bible and Denver Seminary.

He served as associate pastor in Barrington, Rhode Island; pastor at Second Baptist Church in North Stonington, Connecticut; pastor at First Baptist Church of Westerlo; executive director of Albany Bible Institute and Camp Pinnacle; and as a counselor at Capital City Rescue Mission.

After moving to Westerlo in 1974, Pastor Lyon was involved in the founding of the Helderberg Senior Services, the Helderberg Interfaith Safe Haven, the Christian Counseling Associates in Delmar, Cornerstone Baptist Church in East Durham, and the King’s Chapel in Glenmont. He was a member of the First Baptist Church of Westerlo and the Capital City Rescue Mission.

David Lyon said that his father took action to address needs and gave as an example the Helderberg Interfaith Safe Haven, a shelter for victims of domestic abuse that Mr. Lyon worked with several others to found. Mr. Lyon said that his father saw there were women and children in the Hilltowns who were caught up in abusive family situations and did not want their children to leave the school district to find a safe place to live. 

Later in his life, David Lyon said, Pastor Lyon counseled homeless men in the Capital City Rescue Mission, “and he loved that.” 

His father was always glad to share the Word of God “with anyone who would listen,” Mr. Lyon said. “He not only believed it, but he lived it.” 

There were two things his father often said, Mr. Lyon recalled. 

One was, “Just do your best, and let God take care of the rest.” 

The other was, “Knowing what I know, I do what I do.” 

David Lyon explained this second saying as meaning, “If I know what to do, if I know that I need compassion for my fellow man, and I need to step into the gap for the oppressed and afflicted, the people who are helpless to help themselves, then I do it.” 

Pastor Lyon also loved spending time with children and sharing spiritual truths with them in a way that they could understand and that was fun. 

And he enjoyed fishing, hunting, and family activities, his son said. 

For Pastor Lyon, “It was always about inspiring people to reach out and help people in need,” his son concluded. 

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Donald A. Lyon is survived by his beloved wife, Ruth Jewett Lyon; his children, David Lyon and his wife, Lori, Stephen Lyon and his wife, Darlene, and Deborah Lyon; his grandchildren, Nicholas, Katrina, Christianna, Joshua, Jonathan, and Rachel Lyon; his great-grandchildren, Brooklyn, Karsten, and Kade Lyon; and many nieces and nephews. 

His parents, Robert and Shirley Taynton Lyon, died before him, as did his sister, Judy Malzahn.

Calling hours will be held on Saturday Nov. 2, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the A.J. Cunningham Funeral Home at 4898 Route 81 in Greenville. A funeral service will be held on Sunday, Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. at the First Baptist Church of Westerlo at 618 Route 143 in Westerlo, followed by burial in the Westerlo Rural Cemetery.

Memorial messages may be left at altamontenterprise.com/milsestones.

Memorial contributions be made to the First Baptist Church of Westerlo, Deacon Fund, Post Office Box 130, Westerlo, NY 12193 or to the Capital City Rescue Mission, 259 South Pearl St., Albany, NY 12202.

— Elizabeth Floyd Mair

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