R. Kenneth Lyons, 77, Koppers metallurgist

October 14, 2002|By Jacques Kelly | Jacques Kelly,SUN STAFF

R. Kenneth Lyons, a retired Koppers Co. metallurgist and Eastern Shore outdoorsman, died Thursday of complications from pulmonary fibrosis at his home in the Springlake section of Timonium. He was 77.

He supervised the casting of large industrial parts - including gears and bearing housings - for nearly 25 years at the Southwest Baltimore foundry, at Scott Street and Washington Boulevard.

"Every suit he owned had burn holes in it from molten steel particles," said his son, R. Kenneth Lyons Jr. of Easton. "He waded through the accumulated fine black soot in the foundry floor."

In his final five years at Koppers, he was a salesman working from the company's York, Pa., office. He retired in 1983.

Born in Easton, he spent summers working on his family's Huckleberry Hill farm and sawmill in Talbot County.

A 1943 Easton High School graduate, he enlisted in the Navy the next year. Sent for additional studies to Notre Dame University and Princeton University - where family members said he was introduced to scientist Albert Einstein, who was then conducting research at the New Jersey university - he graduated from the Navy's Midshipmen's School at Fort Schuyler, N.Y. An ensign, he was stationed in Pearl Harbor aboard the USS Suamico, a fleet oiler.

He taught gunnery in the Naval Reserve in Baltimore for a decade after the end of World War II. He also earned a degree in chemical engineering at the University of Maryland.

Mr. Lyons never cut his familial ties to the Eastern Shore. He fished and hunted ducks and geese along the Miles River. He often joined his father, who lived in Talbot County, and brought his son to search for Indian artifacts near U.S. 50 before the area was commercially developed.

As part of his pursuit of amateur archaeology, he visited Rome and Israel on church tours.

His wife of 28 years, the former Barbara J. Steegar, died in 1973.

Services will be held at 10 a.m. today at Trinity Episcopal Church, 120 Allegheny Ave. in Towson, where he was a communicant.

In addition to his son, Mr. Lyons is survived by five daughters, Sheridan Lyons and Nancy Lyons Martin, both of Cockeysville, Deborah L. Frankenfield and Allison Pomroy, both of Timonium, and Kimberly Ann Lyons of Wilmington, N.C.; a companion, Janet Ruth of Timonium; two brothers, W. Leroy Lyons of Easton and James Roger Lyons of Annandale, Va.; a sister, Anna Mae Wilkinson of Salisbury; and 10 grandchildren.

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