Editor’s Note: I had intended on accompanying this text post with a video that included images of my father, and audio dialogue of me reading the text, but apparently WordPress doesn’t recognize mp4 files. I will add the video as soon as I can get the file converted to an acceptable file format.
Thanks, and now, on with the post.
A short look at the life of Kenneth Wayne Lyons, my father.
This is a brief look at the greatest leader in my life, my father, Kenneth Wayne Lyons.
Kenny was born in 1934 as the 10th of 11 children to Ezra and Rena Lyons of Lubec Maine. He grew up on a farm on the western edge of town, Straight Bay to be exact. Having 9 older brothers and sisters, he learned to be tough at a very young age, often having to fend for himself and fight off those pesky older siblings who often used him as something to fill up their idle time.
Living several miles from town proved to be a learning device, as it taught him how to build a creative mind that often took him to wonderful adventures from every corner of his imagination.
He often told me that his favorite time of the year was the summer, when he and his little sister Jetta would scamper off to go down to the salt water flats and cool off in the high tide waters that came scurrying in through the salt water channels of Straight Bay, and Crow’s Neck.
Life growing up on a farm in the thirties and forties was a hard life indeed, but it taught him how much a little boy, how much a young man could accomplish in just one day.
Sports and academics.
Kenny was an active youth who took a liking to sports, in particular, baseball. He was good at it because he was gifted with physical ability. From the time he first tried on a catcher’s mitt, he was looked at as a natural leader. He excelled in sporths through school, as baseball and basketball helped him to achieve a character of stature among his fellow students. Being bright and inquisitive helped him to explore those things that interested him. His dreams were big, but his imagination was even bigger. Whatever he attempted, he became good at.
His biggest accomplishment was being able to win the heart of his biggest passion of all, my mother.
Married and moving forward:
A tall, skinny, black haired beauty from South Lubec caught his eye early in high school, and he never looked back. Carol Jean Cleaves stole his heart, and they became married in 1952. His trade of choice, plumbing and heating, helped him to take on the responsibilities of providing for a steadily growing family. From Lubec Maine, to Hartford Connecticut, Back to Lubec and voila, their 4th child in 7 years was born, which happened to be me. Another year later and the budding family found themselves moving to the Portland area, where my father started his career as a regional salesman, which he soon became very good at.
Within a few years, Kenny found himself at the top of the sales team, and was quickly offered a managers position of a store in the Lewiston area. In his early thirties, he was the youngest employee to ever be given control of the reins, and soon turned his store into one of the most profitable in the company’s large chain. It was at this time that I first became aware of the type of leader that he was, or that he had been, up to that point in my life.
A Leader Extraordinaire:
As I grew, I began to notice something special about my father. I began to watch and see how people interacted with him. I began to witness the magic that was my father. When in a room, he glowed with confidence. When in a situation, he naturally took control, no matter what the circumstance. When falling on times where he was forced to lead, he did exactly that. I lived as I watched, I learned as I lived, and I soon realized what the true definition of leadership was.
The true definition of leadership had a name, and it was Kenneth Wayne Lyons, my dad.
A future, a family, a fortune:
As our family grew older, we grew apart, but only in a sense of distance. The older I became, the more I understood what it meant to be a father, as I soon became one myself. I soon understood about responsibilities of a family from a perspective that I was experiencing first hand. In certain circumstances, I found myself sounding, acting, behaving and leading in ways that reminded me of my father. In me, he lived, and as I have grown into an older man, I see things in my son that remind me, of me. It makes perfect sense now that those traits I see in my son are born from his father’s father, my dad.
A leader Lives On Forever:
There’s a signature engraved deep into my soul. It’s the signature of my father. He has been gone now since 2015, and as each day passes, I hear, feel and experience so many moments of my life when a certain leader blazed a trail for his family to follow. Although some days the trail proves to be a challenge to traverse, it is a trail that will surely endure the tests of time.
In life my father didn’t live to lead, but he did so none the less. He didn’t live to look down on those around him, but chose to walk beside them as a friend. He never chose to be better than anyone, but he became the best that he had ever hoped. He never quite grasped the concept of what a man he would be remembered as, but those of us who knew him, will always remember.
I never knew I was born into a family with a leader such as my father, but as I can now plainly see, Oh what a leader was he.
As I grow older and towards the end of my time here on this earth, in this life, I’m not ever going to worry if I was able to become a leader.
I think it’s safe to say that my father never did either.