Curtis Lyon

Obituary of Curtis C. Lyon

Curtis Carroll Lyon

June 13, 1926 to January 31, 2022

Faithful Husband - Hard-working Provider - Loving Father and Grandfather

Imagine being a 21-year-old firefighter working for the Department of Defense at Muroc Air Force Base in California when Chuck Yeager made history by flying faster than the speed of sound! Curt was there on October 14, 1947. He witnessed this moment in history after he had already ventured north to Alaska to serve in the Army as an air traffic controller in Nome in 1945. He was proud to serve his country and was a member of an Honor Flight to Washington, D.C. in 2017. He visited the veterans’ memorials that honored their service. As part of the Honor Flight, he was given a baseball hat with a World War II Veteran emblazoned on the front and his name on the back strap. If you knew Curt, you would recognize that hat as it became his favorite, the one he always wore, even when he had hundreds of other hats. Sometimes that hat would get him a free meal as someone in the restaurant wanted to thank him for his service. People understand he made the decision to serve his country.

Curt Lyon began life in Wichita Falls, Texas on Sunday, June 13, 1926. He was the second-born only son of Robert E. Lyon and Lizzie E. White. He spent some childhood years in Texas with his sisters until the family moved to California to be laborers on a family ranch. He lived through the depression and learned from an early age what it was to work hard for a paycheck. He graduated from Antelope Valley Joint Union High School in Lancaster, CA in 1944. At eighteen years old he was hired as a firefighter at Muroc AFB. He decided to join the Army just before being drafted and attended seven weeks of training to become an air traffic controller. He visited Washington, D.C. before reporting for duty in Nome. He has a scrapbook of photos from his time there. He returned to Muroc now named Edwards AFB for a short time before going back to Anchorage, AK in 1952 to work in construction and drive a taxi cab. He was able to rejoin the fire department at Edwards to continue his firefighting career.

Curt met Elyn Rasmussen through his friend and her grandmother. They played matchmakers as they thought they should meet because “they both liked to go to church.” It was a rapid romance and they were married 3 months later on October 11, 1958. Many people thought the marriage would not last as she was much younger than he was. HA! Elyn and Curt proved them wrong and were married for 63 years, 3 months, and 20 days. Through the years there were some rough patches, but by the grace of God and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, they had a marriage that lasted “until death do us part.” Curt was always faithful to Elyn and a good provider for his family. Having grown up in the depression, money was “carefully” managed. Curt spent many hours as a firefighter working on the flight line at the air/spacecraft test site at Edwards. He had a part in the rescue of a pilot that earned him one of the first-ever NASA exceptional bravery medals. Read about it on Wikipedia.

Curt and Elyn were blessed with three children, Neva, Nelson, and Gina. They lived in Lancaster, CA until 1967. Curt came home one day and asked Elyn if she wanted to move to Kodiak. She said yes not knowing where it was. Curt went ahead to begin working at the Naval Station as a firefighter crew chief. Elyn and the kids joined him six weeks later. Over the next ten years, Curt moved his family five times into different houses on the base. In 1972 the Navy turned the facility over to the Coast Guard and Curt made Assistant Fire Chief. His duties were 24 hours on and 24 hours off. He provided outdoor

challenges for his children. The family rode motorcycles, snow machines, boated at sea, and fished the rivers and shoreline. He was an active member of the base flying club and piloted his family and pastor in single-engine airplanes. He put venison, moose, elk, halibut, and king crab on the table. He had survival stories to tell from flying, hunting, and boating. Summer trips “outside” to the “lower 48” were to visit family and friends. Family traditions were made on days dad had off for holidays. The last fire he fought was unsuccessful in saving the base liquor locker. Curt finished his career as interim Fire Chief with 29 years of service.

In the summer of 1977, the family moved to Salem, OR. The trip “outside” was a 6-week vacation with stops in Anchorage and Juneau. His ¾ ton pickup pulled the loaded vacation trailer. A motorcycle was mounted on the front of the truck, another on the back of the trailer, and two inside the trailer. The 14-foot skiff was on top and two outboard motors were inside. A bench seat was made for two kids in the pickup bed. Don’t worry the third child and dog were not left behind. They traded off with whoever got to sit up front with mom and dad. The Lyon family relocated on a 5-acre mini-farm on Culver Drive. For the first time, there was a family garden, an orchard, and a pasture. There were sheep to eat the tansy and two cows appropriately named Lunch and Dinner. Curt drove a truck for Alaska Sand and Gravel and operated a rototilling business in his first retirement. Hard physical labor was his value system. Curt and Elyn broke ground in 1987 to build their home in South Salem.

Curt completed a three-month “bucket-list” motorhome trip in 2017. It included Calgary Stampede before driving across Canada, attending AirVenture in Oshkosh, WI, fishing in Saltery Lake on Kodiak Island, and boating on Yellowstone Lake in Wyoming. AirVenture, Pendleton Roundup, and spring fishing at Foster Lake became annual events.

Curt’s grandchildren are Carlee, Chace, Rachael, Larissa, Josiah, Grace, John, and Pete and his great-grandchildren are Ava, Ari, and River. His family grew through marriage to include Michael, Greg, Trishchelle, Brian, Alyssa, and Lars. Curt loved his family and throughout his life, he showed his love by acts of service. When help was needed for a vehicle, he went shopping to get the best price for parts and showed up to make the repairs. He always had a boat for fishing with the grandkids. He kept all his equipment clean and ready to go. He checked the tire pressure, tied everything down to make sure traveling would be safe. Then everyone was expected to let him know when they arrived safely at their destination.

About seven years ago, Elyn noticed changes that indicated Curt was experiencing dementia. She journaled his progress into Alzheimer’s. It pleased his family that he developed a sense of humor and popped one-liners that made us laugh and know he was still with us. At breakfast one morning he looked at Elyn and said, “You look like an older version of my wife.” His path to the end of his life led him to heaven as a believer in Jesus Christ. His knowledge of salvation was Jesus died for his sin and there were rules to follow and he followed them. He was a diligent Bible reader. His last outing with Elyn was to attend a worship service. He shared the Lord as his Savior and it was a privilege for the family to be with him and see him off to his heavenly home. The Lord’s timing is always perfect and though we are grieving that he left us on January 31, 2022, we know he is present with his Lord.

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Celebration of Life

1:00 pm
Saturday, March 19, 2022
Fruitland Community Church
6252 Fruitland Road NE
Salem, Oregon, United States
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