WEST PARIS – Elmer Herbert Lyons Jr., 78, of Hanover, passed away on April 1. He had been a resident at the Ledgeview Living Center in West Paris, since January 2008.

He was born May 14, 1930, in Rumford, the son of Elmer ‘Chub’ and Avis (Longley) Lyons.

He attended Rumford schools beginning with Chisholm School during his elementary years and graduating from Stephens High School in 1948. After working a few years as a carpenter in the Rumford area, he attended Gorham State Teachers College where, in 1954, he earned his bachelor of science degree in industrial arts education. He went on to earn his master’s degree in 1963 from the University of Maine, plus he earned 30 credits toward his doctorate.

During his freshman year at Gorham, he met his future wife, Nancy E. Pillsbury, and they married on Aug. 22, 1954, in Springvale. He backed into his future father-in-law’s car that day, which made for some wonderful storytelling and teasing! Ironically, he became a driver ed instructor for adult education in the 1960s in the Westbrook-Portland area.

He taught industrial arts and drafting for 36 years. He began his teaching in Auburn at Webster Junior High School in 1954. In 1956, he began teaching IA at Deering High School in Portland, and continued until 1970 when he returned to his hometown to accept a teaching position at Rumford High/Mountain Valley HIgh School. From 1970 to 1990, he taught architectural engineering and industrial design, better known as drafting, to his Rumford-area students. Helping his students go on to college or vocational school was very important to him. He put many extra, ‘above and beyond’ hours into making sure his students had the opportunity to achieve their goals.

While teaching at Deering High School, he became the president of the Portland Teachers Association and guided the association members into signing the first-ever contract to be had in the Portland School District.

As anyone who knew him could tell you, he enjoyed talking with people and telling stories; he could talk anyone ‘under the table’! He also enjoyed learning about history: the history of wars, his family history and especially Maine and Rumford history. He looked forward to summer Sunday afternoons when friends would stop by the antiques shop to cool off, enjoy a piece of pie and reminisce. In his opinion, talking with friends and learning about history was the best combination.

His love of antiques and tools blossomed into his favorite pastime and family business, the Lyons’ Den Antiques. The antiques shop first opened in 1964 in Bryant Pond, in a small building that formerly was an animal zoo owned by Gil Whitman. As the business grew, he moved the family and business to Hanover in 1971, where the family continues to open the barn doors to customers. Though he enjoyed all antiques, his passion was for antique tools. He worked diligently to keep the antiques shop well-stocked; after all, his motto was, “If one is good, more is better!”

When he was on summer vacation from teaching, he was seldom idle. Not only did the antiques shop keep the family busy, so did the auctions. He was a Maine country auctioneer. Between 1969 and 1996, he and his family ran 38 auctions for families in and around the River Valley area. Those who attended his auctions over the years enjoyed his auction style of honesty, good-natured teasing and entertainment mixed in with some good deals. “Going once, going twice… you’re standing in your own light…. SOLD!”

After retiring from the teaching profession, he and Nancy began traveling to North Carolina to sell antiques. Each spring and fall, for 10 years, they packed the truck and traveled to Charlotte, N.C., to set up a booth at a large outdoor antiques show. Nancy tended the booth while he enjoyed shopping and buying from the many, many dealers…. it amazed the family that they, sometimes, arrived home with more items than they took. He LOVED shopping for antiques; it was almost as much fun as talking!

He was a member of the Kappa Delta Phi fraternity; Epsilon Pi Tau; he was elected mayor of Gorham State Teachers College during 1951-52, where he presided over all the social activities at the college; he was a life member of both the Rumford and Bethel Historical societies and a member of the following education associations: MEA, NEA, MARI and ITEA.

He is survived by Nancy, his wife of 54 years, of Hanover; three children, Elmer H. Lyons III and wife, Debbie, of Chelmsford, Mass., Nancy Lynn Lyons of Hanover and Jay A. Lyons of Maryland Heights, Mo.; two grandchildren, Hunter Thomas and Emily Ann Lyons of Chelmsford, Mass.; one brother, Clifton A. Lyons Sr. and his wife, Pauline, of Atkinson, N.H.

Nancy, along with the rest of Elmer’s family, would like to extend their sincere thanks to the staff at Ledgeview Living Center (you know who you are) for their caring and compassion over these past 14 months.

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