LITTLE VALLEY - John H. Lyons, of Little Valley, N.Y., passed away Saturday (Feb. 2, 2013) at his home. He was born March 23, 1934, in Union City, Pa., to Harvey and Mildred Lyons.
In 1944, the family moved to Cattaraugus, N.Y. John was a member of the Cattaraugus High School class of 1952. He then at-tended Wesleyan University in Middleton, Conn., on a scholarship.
In 1954, he entered the four-year Navy Flight program in Pensacola, Fla. After flight training in Corpus Christi, Texas, and Flight Cadet School, John was commissioned 1st Lt. and received naval aviator status in 1956. He was assigned to the All Weather Attack Squadron No. 35 in San Diego, which was later assigned to the USS Hancock aircraft carrier, which traveled to Japan and the Philippines. John was the youngest pilot, at age 22, to log 200 landings on an aircraft carrier.
After serving in the Navy from 1954-58, John attend-ed the University of Florida, earning a business degree in January 1960 and later a bachelor's degree. He remained a Gator fan his entire life.
John moved back to Cattaraugus in 1961 to run the family sawmill equipment business in Little Valley. The site of the original business was later donated by John to be used for the current Memorial Library. For almost 50 years, John worked building Lyons Equipment, serving as its president. He sold the business in December 2012.
John was a member of the Penn York Lumbermen's Association for more than 50 years, the Cattaraugus United Methodist Church, Legion Post 531 and Elkdale Country Club. John served as director of the Cattaraugus County Bank from 1980-2005. For many years he piloted his own plane and enjoyed snowmobiling.
John is survived by two sons: Clayton (Mireya) of Orlando, Fla., and Craig of Apopka, Fla.; a grandson, John Arthur; two sisters: Margaret (Milton) David and Nancy (Dr. Charles-Mac) Evarts; and several nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by a brother, Harry (Hal) in 1958.
The family suggests memorials may be made to the Cattaraugus United Methodist Church, 53 Washington St., Cattaraugus, NY 14719, the Little Valley Memorial Library, 110 Rock City St., Little Valley, NY 14755, or to one of your choice.
At his request there will be no visitation. Funeral arrangements are under the direction of Mentley Funeral Home Inc., 411 Rock City St., Little Valley, N.Y.
Private family services will be held at a later date.