Obituaries - Recent

Obituaries - Recent

1-2-22, John R. Lyon, DVM, 83

John Ralph Lyon, DVM, died peacefully at home in Ojai, with his family present on January 2, 2022. He was born to Gertrude and Ralph Lyon in Woodhull, N.Y., August 1, 1938.

He grew up in the wooded farming area where his grandparents had established their home and where he loved to return. Knowing only that he loved animals and the outdoors, John first went to forestry school for a year, then briefly to Syracuse University. He then accepted the invitation of a cousin to move out to California when he was 20.

His cousin was a veterinarian and asked John to ride in the truck with him while he treated dairy cattle. Enjoying the work with animals, he lived with his cousin’s family of four sons and contributed gener-ously to household chores and family responsibilities.

John enrolled at Modesto Junior Col-lege and then went on to the University of California at Davis to continue his studies. He entered the Davis School of Veterinary Medicine and graduated in June 1968. In deciding where to go into practice, John wanted to be in California to be near his son Jeffrey from his first marriage.

He made Ojai his home and traveled every other week to spend time with Jeff in Davis from Saturday at noon to Sunday evening. He began working in the veterinary practice established in 1956 by John G. Bee, DVM, and later became a partner with Dr. Bee at Matilija Veterinary Hospital.

Soon after arriving in Ojai, John met Marilyn Richards, a teacher at San Antonio Elementary School, and they became good friends, both single parents and new to Ojai. They fell in love and married May 28, 1970, promising to make God the center of their marriage and parent each other’s children. John loved working with all animals — horses, beef cattle, the Chase Dairy herd, sheep and goats, as well as dogs and cats.

Any animal owner who encountered John immediately sensed the deep care and devotion he brought to healing animals. He de-veloped an especially enduring and mutually warm bond with The Thacher School and its horse program that lasted decades, caring for the horses and developing lifelong friendships with countless teachers, administrators, and students. John felt a dedication and joy in encouraging young and aspiring veterinarians. He mentored many during his years of practice, several of whom went on to pursue careers in veterinary medicine, and one of whom eventually became John’s partner in the practice, Matt Bailey, DVM. Golf, hiking, camping, stream fishing, and river rafting were among the many activities he pursued with enthusiasm and skill.

John loved Ojai and was deeply dedicated to civic life in the Valley. He was a 53-year member and former president of the Rotary Club of Ojai. He was a devout parishioner at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church, a member of the Ojai Civic Association and the Ojai Valley Inn Golf Club. John is survived by his wife of 51 years, Marilyn, and their children, Anne Carper (Chad), David Richards (Miwa), Jeffrey Lyon (Brenda), and Margaret Barrie; 11 grandchildren; his sisters Jean Brate and Sue Raley; and many nieces, nephews, and cousins.

He loved and was deeply loved by them all, and left them with the gift of beautiful and indelible memories of his humor, compassion, honesty, and abiding love of family.

Details of a memorial service will be announced when COVID restrictions are lighter.

Memorials can be sent to the Humane Society of Ventura County, for the care and fostering of animals, or to St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church.

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