Obituary: Michael Victor Lyon


Michael Victor Lyon

Sept 3, 1947 - June 11, 2012

There were no prizes for guessing how Mike Lyon was nicknamed "Skip".

When his funeral was held at the Napier Sailing Club a week after he died in Auckland, much of the talk was about how he had done so much as leader of the Westshore Sea Scouts, just across the water on the Meeanee Quay side of the inner harbour.

He was much more than the leader, with 57 years in the scouting movement from the formation of the Westshore troop while at primary school in 1955. It included a year in the Auckland area during which he was involved with the Riverhead Kaipara group, and a period in Australia as a leader with the First South troop in Perth.

It was the leadership which appealed to young Napier scout Dylan Bishop who, having been involved with the Westshore scouts for just a couple of years, interviewed Mr Lyon for a school project at Tamatea Intermediate earlier this year.

"I had to do a project on leadership, and I chose Mike," he said, having read the end-result as part of the eulogies at the funeral.

Born in England and brought to New Zealand by parents Victor and Merle Lyon as a pre-schooler, Mike Lyon went to Westshore Primary School, Napier Intermediate and Napier Boys' High.

He left school in 1963 to start a fitting and turning apprenticeship with engineering firm Nivens, learning to weld, which prepared him for his next job with Engine Rebuilders, and his next as maintenance engineer for the Napier City Council, after his father retired from the position.

Developing an interest in small motors, he then established Lawnmower Sales and Service in Kennedy Rd, while also serving as a Territorial force "weekend soldier" in the Waikato-Wellington-East Coast squadron from 1980 to 1989, where he was involved with much bigger motors - he was in the tank division.

It was in 1989 that he sold up, moved to Auckland for about a year, and then headed for Australia where he went into business in Perth.

During a decade in West Australia his 25 years service to scouting was recognised by the Australian movement's presentation of its Silver Emu Award, to go with a Silver Tui Award from the movement in New Zealand.

When he returned to Hawke's Bay he started what was to be his last job, working at Bay Mowers and Saws in Latham St, Napier.

It was at Nivens that he met office staffer Ann Boland, who he married in the mid-1960s, having two sons and three daughters.

Second son Michael, despite his parents separating when he was young, established a similar aptitude for metal work, becoming a blacksmith by trade and now specialising in stainless steel finishing and similar work, based at Tikokino.

With one son and one daughter having died at young ages, Mr Lyon is survived by four children, including a daughter from another relationship, and by wife Rhonda (nee Spiller), whom he had met about 27 years ago and whom he married in Havelock North on April 12, 2003.

- Hawkes Bay Today

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