Memorable Manitobans: Robert Newton Lyons (1873-1959)
Born at Proton Sound, Grey County, Ontario on 7 September 1873, son of John and Louise Lyons, he was educated in public schools and the Central Business College at Owen Sound, Ontario. He worked as a bookkeeper and foreman before moving to Griswold. Residing there from 1896 to 1904, he operated a general store and had a branch location at Bradwardine. He also served as a Police Magistrate (1903-1904).
In 1904, he moved to Winnipeg and worked as a grocer before changing careers and entering the financial, insurance, and real estate field, as Secretary-Treasurer of the Prairie City Loan Company. A delegate to the Dominion Trades and Labor Congress (1910), he was named a life member in 1937. He was Secretary of the Dominion Alliance when Dr. H. E. Hicks defeated opposition leader T. C. Morris. He played the clarinet, flute, and oboe, playing a solo performance for the cornerstone laying ceremony of the Westminster United Church. He was also founding member of the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra, bandmaster (1906-1910) of the Metropolitan Band, and a member of the Winnipeg Musicians’ Association from 1906, where he was President for several years.
A former member of the 100th Grenadiers, in January 1916 he enlisted for military service during the First World War. By this time, the family lived on Scotia Street in West Kildonan. He was a member of the Royal Winnipeg Rifles Band, and while posted overseas, was a member of the 250-piece Shorncliffe Canadian Divisional Band which performed at the November 1916 Lord Mayor’s event at Royal Albert Hall, and Trocadero in Paris, France. Back from active service, he worked as head accountant for the Robertson Adams Lumber Company until resigning in 1930, then joining the Manitoba Government Lands Department as an accountant. Following the transfer of land control from federal to provincial responsibility in 1930, he was appointed Supervisor of Crown Land Sales and Leases. He retired in 1939.
On 4 May 1899, he married Hattie Lois Walker at St. John’s Anglican Church in Dundalk, Ontario. The couple had five children: Louise Melissa Lyons (1900-1984, wife of William Samuel “Bill” Shaver), Hattie Victoria “Vic” Lyons (1903-2000, wife of Malcolm Galston), Robert John Walker “Bob” Lyons, James Teddy Gordon “Ted” Lyons (1909-?), and Eva May Lyons (1911-?, wife of Charles Stewart Bowman). A pioneer member of the Kildonan Methodist Church, where he also taught Sunday School, he joined the Crescent-Fort Rouge United Church in 1927. Fraternal involvement included the Loyal Orange Order (Derry Lodge No. 2446, Past Master), Loyal Orange Association (Past District Master and Grand Auditor), and a 50-year member of the Royal Black Preceptory (Eldon 685).
He died at Winnipeg on 19 September 1959.
Birth and marriage registrations, Manitoba Vital Statistics.
Attestation papers, Canadian Expeditionary Force, Library and Archives Canada.
“Lansdowne declaration,” Winnipeg Daily Tribune, 4 April 1903, page 2.
Who’s Who in Western Canada: A Biographical Dictionary of Notable Living Men and Women of Western Canada, Volume 1, edited by C. W. Parker, Vancouver: Canadian Press Association, 1911.
“Musicians’ Association honors six members,” Winnipeg Tribune, 9 January 1937, page 50.
“Eva May Lyons and Charles Stewart Bowman take vows at pretty church ceremony,” Winnipeg Free Press, 28 June 1937, page 11.
[Photo caption, Mr. and Mrs. R. N. Lyons], Winnipeg Free Press, 5 May 1949, page 21.
“Robert Newton Lyons dies here at age 86,” Winnipeg Free Press, 21 September 1959, page 7.
Death notice, Winnipeg Free Press, 22 September 1959, page 24.
Obituary [Hattie Lois Lyons], Winnipeg Free Press, 6 November 1963, page 32.
Obituary [William S. Shaver], Winnipeg Free Press, 7 December 1976, page 35.
Obituary [Louise Shaver], Winnipeg Free Press, 6 October 1984, page 18.
Obituary [Hattie Victoria Galston], Winnipeg Free Press, 11 July 2000, page C7.
We thank Robert Galston, great-great-grandson of R. N. Lyons, for providing additional information used here.
This page was prepared by Nathan Kramer.
Page revised: 21 February 2016
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