Jon Charles Lyons, 78, of Lancaster died suddenly on October 12, 2021 at his home. His death was a shock to all given his active, vibrant and full life. He will be sadly missed by so many people. Jon had never retired and at the time of his death was working full time as an administrative judge in Philadelphia, a position he has held for the past 10 years.
Jon practiced law in Lancaster from the late 1970s until his appointment as an administrative judge. He came to Lancaster from Williamsport, Pa., Where he had been director of legal services, which represented the poor. A firm believer in justice for all, regardless of the ability to pay for a lawyer, Jon embraced this work with dedication. Soon after arriving in Lancaster, Jon became involved in local politics, displaying a passion for good government that listens to the public. He campaigned enthusiastically for Lancaster City Council and, along with Janice Stork and Ron Ford, led a Democratic sweep in the fall of 1982. He then ran unsuccessfully for mayor and representative of the 96th Legislative District, but never lost his keen interest in politics. .
Jon liked sports activities and especially challenges. While he played a lot of golf and handball in the previous decades, he began to engage in more demanding activities later in his life. Jon was an avid athlete beyond his years. He was an active and nationally recognized Level 3 ski instructor. This is the highest level of accreditation offered by the Professional Ski Instructors of America. Being in his 70s when he reached Level 3, Jon was the oldest person to ever reach this level of certification. For the past ten years, during the ski season, Jon has been to Elk Mountain every weekend where he has taught skiing. He was also a ski instructor at Vail and Winter Park. Jon searched for ski adventures that would be challenging and exciting, which led him to Chamonix in France and helicopter skiing in Canada.
About ten years ago Jon started driving racing cars. He was a certified high performance driving instructor with the National Capital Chapter of the BMW Car Club of America. Last year he had driven at Virginia International Raceway, Watkins Glen and Summit Point. In August he attended Lotus Driving School in England.
Jon was an enthusiastic road cyclist for over 20 years and still rode with the Lancaster Bike Club and other local groups throughout Lancaster County. He hiked 8,000-10,000 miles a year, participating in a number of charity hikes. Among other things, he hiked the Gran Fondo in New York and Philadelphia, the Covered Bridge and the Civil War Century, which was one of his favorites because there were so many hills. For the past three years, Jon has been riding every weekend with a small group. They covered 100 miles on Saturday and 50 miles on Sunday.
Jon graduated from Millville High School in 1961 and traveled to the Citadel in Charleston, South Carolina on his own. He was especially proud of his Citadel diploma and still wore his Citadel class ring, which was on his finger when he died. After graduation, he entered Dickinson School of Law, but his studies were interrupted by a period of service in Vietnam where he served in the rank of lieutenant and participated in helicopter rescue missions carrying wounded soldiers. After Vietnam he graduated JD from Dickinson and later also served in the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Jon was the son of the late Dr. Charles and Edith (Watts) Lyons. He was predeceased by his sister Carol Aurand. Jon is survived by two sons, Justin Lyons and Mervyn Ian Arnold-Lyons, both of Lancaster, his daughter Meryl and husband Tim Miller of Brooklyn, and a sister, Yvonne Ryder, of McKinney, Texas.
There will be a Celebration of Life on Tuesday, October 26, 2021 from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. at the American Bar & Grill, 1081 North Plum Street, Lancaster. Memorial contributions in memory of Jon can be made to Advoz Mediation and Restorative Practices, 8 N. Queen St. # 210, Lancaster, PA 17603 or Immigration Legal Services Program Lancaster Office, CWS, 308 E. King St., Lancaster , PA 17602.
âWritten with love by Marlene Arnold.
Please visit Jon’s memorial page at