Memorable Manitobans: Robert John Walker “Bob” Lyons (1905-1975)
Born at Winnipeg on 7 June 1905, son Robert Newton Lyons and Hattie Lois Walker (1873-1963), he grew up in West Kildonan. In 1931, he graduated from United College and embarked upon a teaching career in the Greater Winnipeg area, joining the permanent staff of the Winnipeg School Division in July 1935. He first worked at Lord Nelson School (1935-1936) and Aberdeen School (1936-1940) before his career was interrupted by the Second World War. Enlisting in August 1940, he served six years with the Royal Winnipeg Rifles, first with the Military District No. 10 (Winnipeg) as educational adviser for the 5th Canadian Armoured Division. He was transferred to the National Headquarters in December 1943, then worked in the Directorate of Records Branch, rising to the rank of Captain.
Returning to civilian life, he was Principal of Knowles School (1946-1947) and taught at Kelvin High School (1947-1948), Daniel McIntyre Collegiate (1948-1953), and Isaac Newton High School (1954-1955), with the balance of his 26-year career spent at classrooms around the capital region. During the 1950 Flood, he oversaw local volunteer rehabilitation efforts for hundreds of flooded homes in the vicinity of Scotia Street, with operations based out of Luxton School. He also was involved with Sunday School and choir work.
On 29 June 1935, he married fellow teacher Ada Gertrude O’Neill (1907-2001) at St. John’s United Church in Winnipeg. The couple had two children: Margaret Anne Lyons (1937-2014, wife of Dr. William G. L. Carr) and Robert Neill Lyons. He was active with the Ashlar Masonic Lodge (Ottawa, life member), Lord Selkirk Lodge (Winnipeg), Royal Canadian Legion (Fort Rouge Branch), Mentors’ Club, and ANAF Veterans (Rockwood Unit).
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
1911 Canada census, Automated Genealogy.
“Lyons - O’Neill,” Winnipeg Free Press, 1 July 1935, page 6.
“School Board meeting,” Winnipeg Tribune, 10 July 1935, page 5.
“Wed in St. John’s [Mrs. R. J. W. Lyons],” Winnipeg Tribune, 6 July 1935, page 8.
[Photo caption], Winnipeg Free Press, 6 July 1935, page 14.
“Wedding of Ada G. O’Neill takes place this afternoon in St. John’s United Church,” Winnipeg Tribune, 29 June 1935, page 14.
“Lieutenant and Mrs. R. J. W. Lyons,” Winnipeg Free Press, 5 June 1940, page 10.
“Posted to Ottawa,” Winnipeg Tribune, 17 December 1943, page 5.
[Photo caption, “A letter to daddy,”], Winnipeg Tribune, 29 June 1942, page 1.
“Scotia Street residents start mop-up with help of Army and volunteers,” Winnipeg Free Press, 29 May 1950, page 3.
“Greater Winnipeg cleans up [Scotia district],” Winnipeg Free Press, 31 May 1950, page 3.
“Robert Newton Lyons dies here at age 86,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1959, page 7.
Death notice [Robert Newton Lyons], Winnipeg Free Press, 22 September 1959, page 24.
Obituary [Hattie Lois Lyons], Winnipeg Free Press, 6 November 1963, page 32.
Obituary, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 November 1975, page 42.
Obituary [Ada G. Lyons], Winnipeg Free Press, 24 September 2001, page B8.
Obituary [Margaret Anne Carr], Winnipeg Free Press, 26 April 2014, page B12.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 20 February 2016
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