Arzalia Z. Lyle, 89

Homemaker, deaconess

November 10, 2006

Arzalia Z. Lyle, a homemaker and founding member of High Rock Baptist Church, died Saturday of colon cancer at the Augsburg Lutheran Home and Village. The longtime Northwest Baltimore resident was 89.

She was born and raised Arzalia Lightfoot in Winfall, N.C., the daughter of sharecroppers. In the early 1930s, she moved to Baltimore and, in 1936, married Hubert M. Zachary, a Western Electric Corp. worker. He died in 1954.

In 1959, she married Daniel Lyle, a postal worker who died in 1979.

Mrs. Lyle joined the former Cornerstone Baptist Church in the 1930s and then became a member of Sharon Baptist Church in 1944.

In 1968, she helped establish High Rock in Garrison, where she was a deaconess and soprano with the church choir until her death.

"She was known affectionately by her family and friends as Mama Zalia. She was a loving and caring person who was like a mother to everyone she knew," said Mia Jackson, a granddaughter.

Mrs. Lyle opened her home to those who needed a place to stay and was also a foster parent. She called everyone "Sugar-Poo," and enjoyed dressing in colorful hats and scarves that matched her colorful and outgoing personality, family members said.

"She was also our family griot and loved to tell stories about her youth, family tree and what it was like growing up in rural North Carolina," said her daughter, L. Francine Ashby of Catonsville. "And her stories always came from her heart."

Services will be held at 10:30 a.m. today at Sharon Baptist, 1373 N. Stricker St.

Also surviving are two sons, Hubert M. Zachary of Owings Mills and Percy C. Zachary of Woodlawn; nine other grandchildren; six great-grandchildren; and a great-great granddaughter.

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