Frank Lyon Jr. Dies at 74; Funeral Set For Thursday

Frank Lyon Jr. Dies at 74; Funeral Set For Thursday
Frank Lyon Jr.

Frank Lyon Jr., 74, who served in leadership roles at many companies, including the Coca-Cola Bottling Co. of Arkansas, died Sunday at his Little Rock home.

A visitation is planned for from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday at the Ruebel Funeral Home at 6313 W. Markham St. in Little Rock. The memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Thursday at Second Presbyterian Church at 600 Pleasant Valley Drive in Little Rock.

A full obituary has been posted on the funeral home's website.

Lyon was born in Little Rock in May 1941 to Frank Lyon Sr. and Marion Bradley Lion. He attended Davidson College and the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and served in the U.S. Army, where he earned the Army Commendation Medal. He earned an MBA from Harvard Business School in 1967.

Lyon led several companies including The Frank Lyon Co., TC Bankshares, Wingmead, Inc., Arkansas Irrigation Co. and U.S. Bank.

A beneficiary of the Lyon family's generosity was Arkansas College at Batesville, which changed its name to Lyon College in 1995. Lyon College issued the following statement Monday evening:

"Frank Lyon, Jr., was a trustee of Lyon College in Batesville for nearly 30 years, serving a lengthy term as Chairman of the Board. When he left the board, he continued his involvement with the institution named in honor of his family as Special Advisor to the President from 2012 until his death. The College awarded him with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree at commencement in 1997.

"Lyon had the business acumen, knowledge, and skills necessary to help direct the selective private liberal arts college. He graduated from the University of Arkansas with honors and earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School. He also had the example of his late father, Frank Lyon, Sr., who also served on the Lyon Board of Trustees, including terms as Chairman. When the College decided in 1994 to change its name from Arkansas College, the amazing commitment of the Lyon family, beginning in the 1940s, led then-president John Griffith to seek the family’s permission to honor their leadership with the new name, Lyon College. Lyon, Sr., was initially unwilling, but he was persuaded to agree by fellow trustees and family members.

"His son continued the tradition of involvement and support, making significant donations to the construction of the new Edwards Commons and the recently-dedicated Charles Whiteside Hall, one of two new residence halls.

"When he learned of Frank’s death, President Donald Weatherman stated, "He savored life in a way that infected anyone around him. Whether it was his sound judgment in the Board Room or his keen eye in the duck blind, Dr. Lyon was an inspiration to all who had the privilege to know him. Like his father, he was a remarkable businessman who was just as generous as he was successful. When asked to speak on special occasions where they were being honored, the family words were simply "My cup runneth over."'

"Lyon College was blessed to receive some of that overflow. Weatherman noted when the name was changed that 'the Lyon family met or exceeded every quality we try to instill in our students: honor, integrity, perseverance, and compassion. Our challenge has always been to be as successful in education as the Lyons were in everything else they touched.'"

In lieu of flowers, the family asked that memorials take the form of donations to the Thomas-Lyon Longevity Center at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Arkansas Children's Hospital, Second Presbyterian Church or the donor's favorite charity.