Colleagues are remembering engineer John Lyons this week; and his memorial service details are now available.
As Radio World reported earlier, Lyons died unexpectedly Friday. In response to the news, Society of Broadcast Engineers President Wayne Pecena released a statement, calling him “a bigger-than-life icon of the broadcast engineering community in New York City.” Pecena said that Lyons’ “handprints were on all major New York City broadcast and communications facilities from Empire State to 4 Times Square.”
Lyons’ most recent and ambitious project was the design and buildout of Durst Corp.’s broadcast facilities at One World Trade Center. In 2016, prior to OWTC’s completion, Pecena remembered, the site hosted the SBE Education Summit, during which Lyons gave attendees a tour, which Pecena says was a special occasion and now a memory “to be cherished.”
Lyons was a longtime member of the SBE. Pecena noted that Lyons had served on the board of directors for four years and subsequently was elected a Fellow. Lyons and Pecena also shared the distinction of the Radio World Excellence in Engineering award; Lyons was named the third recipient in 2006, and Pecena joined the ranks in 2014, upon which occasion, Pecena recalls, “When I received that award, his email to me simply stated, ‘Congratulations to #11 from #3.’”
In response to a Radio World invitation, other colleagues have sent thoughts.
Warren Dyckman remembered Lyons as a friend and client of Hanson Broadcast Engineering for the fitout of the 1 WTC 90th floor and master antenna system. “John was always a great manager and always made time to facilitate and build and support not only on the work site but also on the teams bringing the technology and the broadcast clients to 1 WTC.”
Another colleague recalled his addition to trains. “He was a devout rail fan and took the train whenever he could,” said Richard Ross of Univision Communications. “I met him in the dining car of the Lake Shore Limited on route to Chicago some years back and he greeted with a usual insult ‘I didn’t know they let bums like you on the train,’ which reassured me all was well.”
Clay Freinwald remembered Lyons for his “wry humor and gracious ways.” Colleague Josh Gordon called Lyons “quick witted, incredibly funny and one of the best organized people I have ever known. I never understood how he could manage so many people, tasks and details and still have time to respond personally to small requests for details and decisions in near real time. He was a giant in our industry, yet very humble.”
Consultant Paul Shulins recalled “a real family man who was always full of energy and ideas. He spent countless volunteer hours running AFCCE meetings and working as the treasurer of that organization. He also helped so many fellow engineers as a mentor and advisor. We will miss you, John. When I look at the New York City skyline I will always think of you. There is no better honor.”
Fellow broadcasters and friends are invited to share their memories at DignityMemorial.com. That obituary page includes information about a visitation scheduled for Thursday Dec. 5 from 2 to 6 p.m. at Chas. Peter Nagel Funeral Directors in New York. His funeral is scheduled for Dec. 6, 11–11:45 a.m. and will be held at Maple Grove Cemetery, according to the website.