Ron G. Lyman
November 29, 1930 - November 6, 2017
What a life! Ron “Spots” Lyman lived a full one filled with family, friends, adventure, and achievement.
Ron was the fourth of five children born to Frank and Roberta Lyman in Carson City, Nevada. Growing up, Ron learned the value of hard work at an early age, from delivering newspapers; to driving a milk wagon; to bucking hay – followed by the fun of sports and the outdoors. He excelled as a three-sport athlete in high school, and was named Nevada “all-state” in basketball and football.
In 1949, he was recruited to play football at the University of Oregon. He played football on scholarship for four years under the coaching of Bill Bowerman and Len Casanova. While at college, the Korean war started and the football team was directed to sign up for ROTC. Ron decided he wanted to fly rather than walk and chose the Air Force. During this time he met a cute freshman blonde on a blind date. They fell in love and following graduation he married Ann Gerlinger on August 7th, 1954 and headed off to flight school in Tucson, Arizona.
Lt. Lyman loved flying and was good at it. He completed flight training and qualified as a jet fighter pilot (Lockheed T33 Shooting Star). He also started a family, that included two girls and a boy – Teri Lyman Schaefer (Rick), Elizabeth Lyman Bergeron (Matt), and Mark Lyman (Kim). Upon completion of his service, Ron was honorably discharged from the Air Force, but continued in the Air Reserve. He completed all military service in 1962 with the rank of Captain.
Returning to Salem in 1957, Ron went to work with his father-in-law (Carl Gerlinger) at their small family business – West Salem Machinery. He was tasked with selling used sawmill machinery, which is the basis for one of his long time sayings, “nothing happens ‘til you make a sale!” He was instrumental in the growth of WSM from a used machinery dealer to a full fledged manufacturing business. He spent over 50 years leading WSM and as a valued advisor to the extended family businesses. He was proud of his work and a true craftsman, creator, and mentor. He valued his employees and their work and was a great sounding board with good judgment.
Ron and Ann made many friends and had numerous adventures over their 63 years together. They enjoyed much that Oregon has to offer, from the ski slopes of Mt. Bachelor; to the beach at Neskowin; to camping at Crescent Lake; to duck hunting in the Willamette Valley; to rafting the Rogue; to fly fishing the Deschutes - there was always an adventure to share with family and friends. Ron was an avid Oregon Duck fan and a member of the Order of the “O”. The family spent many great times tailgating at Autzen and traveling to bowl games. Ron always relished beating the Beavers and winning his long-standing bet with Quiz!
Ron also had a real heart for his community, and felt strongly about education and training of youth. He was part of a group that helped start local vocational training in West Salem, which later became Chemeketa Community College. Other involvements included Marion County Planning Commission, Scouting (Ron was an Eagle Scout), founding member of Illahe Hills Country Club, and assisting with the local Oregon Duck Club.
When Ron decided it was time to back off from work, his focus shifted to the pursuit of the Mighty Chinook. He truly enjoyed the natural beauty and fishing challenges at the jaws of the Nestucca River and worked diligently every fall to catch as many fish as he could. He also developed a serious dislike of sea gulls and seals.
While enjoying his wood shop, Ron also developed new skills as a master builder of model wooden ships. His large hands crafted intricate wooden parts and rigging and his patience and planning allowed construction of an entire fleet of ships. He always signed them – “RL”.
Ron left a great family legacy for his three children, their spouses, six grandchildren, and six great grandchildren. He was humble and hard working – he enjoyed nature and all it had to offer – he was a creator and builder - he was friendly and a good companion – he knew how to ask the right question - he loved and provided for his family – and he consistently placed others before himself. He was the kind of guy that if you were ever lost in the woods, you could count on him to find the way out.
What a man! - we miss you Ron, Spots, Dad, Grandpa Ron, Papa Ron
Ron’s Celebration of Life will be held on Sunday, November 19th at Illahe Hills Country Club at 2:00 pm. The remembrance service will begin at 2:30 pm. Remembrance donations may be made to:
Oregon Athletic Fund – Ron Lyman Football Scholarship, Attn:Duck Athletic Fund, 2727 Leo Harris Parkway, Eugene, OR.97401
Salem Hospital Foundation – PO Box 14001, Salem, OR.97309
Oregon Community Foundation - 1221 SW Yamhill St. Suite 100, Portland, OR.97205