James “Frank” Lyon, Jr., 74, of Little Rock passed away Sunday, November 8 at his home surrounded by family and friends.
Frank was born in Little Rock in May of 1941, attended Little Rock’s Central High School and graduated from Arkadelphia High School in 1959. He further attended Davidson College and The University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, graduating with honors in 1963.
Frank then served his country in the United States Army earning the Army Commendation Medal. He subsequently earned a Masters of Business Administration degree from Harvard Business School in 1967.
Frank was an icon in Arkansas business serving as chairman, president or director of many companies including The Frank Lyon Company, Coca-Cola Bottling Company of Arkansas, TC Bankshares, Wingmead, Inc., Arkansas Irrigation Company and US Bank of Arkansas.
Additionally Frank and Jane Lyon began Summer Wind Farm, a thoroughbred breeding business, in Georgetown Kentucky in 1995 which they have operated together ever since.
His civic service included involvement in the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, Little Rock Boys Club, Lyon College, Goodwill Industries, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, United Way and the Arkansas Game and Fish Commission.
He was an avid outdoorsman and a veteran of dozens of African Safari hunts dating back as far as 1956. Known by his friends and family as “The Stealth Philanthropist” he quietly supported countless charities across the state with extraordinary generosity and dedicated service.
Frank is survived by his wife Jane, two daughters Karen Bailey (Mark Moloney) and Ashley Jackson (Wil) and four grandchildren Henry and Hannah Jackson and William and Ryan Moloney. Frank was preceded in death by his father Frank Lyon Sr. and mother Marion Bradley Lyon.
A visitation is planned for family and friends on Wednesday, November 11 from 4-6pm at the Ruebel Funeral Home in Little Rock. Memorial service to be held at the Second Presbyterian Church in Little Rock on Thursday, November 12 at 11:00 am.
The family would like to express its most sincere and heartfelt appreciation for those who cared for Frank in his final time with us – among them Dr. Jeanne Wei of UAMS, Arthur Castellano, Montague Martin, Jack Lanham and Ryan Leonard – for their tireless care and compassion.
In addition, the family thanks honorary pallbearers Charles Whiteside, J.D. Simpson, John Witherspoon, Jack Davis, Tom Nash, Rick Shutt, Bill Hawkins, Tim Doepel and Darren Walker.
In lieu of flowers, please send memorial gifts to the Thomas-Lyon Longevity Center at UAMS, Arkansas Children’s Hospital, Second Presbyterian Church of Little Rock or your favorite charity.