Reverend Edward D. Lyons Obituary – Born January 2, 1932 – Died January 5, 2021
Reverend Edward D. Lyons, 89, formerly of Somers Point, NJ, a retired priest of the Diocese of Camden and member of the Philadelphia Lyons family, died peacefully on January 5, 2021 at The Wayne Center for Nursing & Rehabilitation in Wayne, PA where he lived since 2019.
Father Lyons was born in South Philadelphia on January 2, 1932 (with his twin brother Henry), one of 14 children born to Cecelia C. Lyons (née Regan) and John T. Lyons. A child of the Depression era, he and his siblings grew to be very close and remained so throughout his life.
As a boy, he survived scarlet fever and went on to graduate from Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia before enlisting in the Navy, where he served from 1949-1956. He attended St. Jerome’s College in Kitchener, Ontario, in 1958 and continued his studies at Christ the King Seminary. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest in 1962.
Father Ed, as he was known to all, taught English at Holy Spirit High School in Absecon, NJ for 30 years and was Department Chair. In 2002 he was inducted into the Holy Spirit HS Hall of Fame. A passionate basketball fan, he founded and ran the Seagull Classic, one of the most prestigious high school basketball showcases in the country from 1972 to 1990. The tournament was resurrected in 2018 and Father Ed was honored as the founder of the tournament and awarded a commemorative Seagull Classic Basketball. “The games and their competitions brought outstanding athletes and sports journalists from around the country,” said Father Lyons at the time. “Many young, gifted players went on to stardom in college and the professional ranks. Last but not least”, he added, “charities in needful schools and institutions benefitted from the Seagull each Christmas Tide for nearly 20 years.”
An avid reader and writer, he launched Encounters Magazine and published it for over 5 years. He and his older brother John T. Lyons Jr. were both frequent contributors. He also launched the Athlete’s Prayer Program with wallet-sized prayer cards for almost any sport.
From 1998 to 2008, Father Lyons was the pastor of Our Lady of the Angels Church in Cape May County Court House, NJ. With the help of Sister Cecelia Immaculate, I.H.M. (his sister), he inaugurated the parish’s first religious education and CCD school. Another program he founded was the Food, Faith and Film get-together which brought parishioners, family and friends together for prayer service, dinner and film watching (three of his favorite things).
A travel enthusiast, he worked with friend and travel agent Jan Paytas to put together more than 40 trips for parishioners and friends from 1980 to 2018. His last trip was a river cruise on the Danube River.
Father Lyons was known to have made a major positive impact on people’s lives. Paytas recounts meeting people from his parish who would praise Father Lyons with comments like “Father Lyons saved my life…he put me on the right track. I would not be here today if not for his strong belief in me.”
As the “official” priest of the large Lyons clan, Father Ed presided over hundreds of family baptisms, weddings and funerals for more than 50 years – a true spiritual leader who inspired and guided everyone in his path.
In addition to Sister Cecelia Immaculate, I.H.M. (of West Chester, PA), he is survived by sister Rita C. O'Brien (of Mobile, Alabama), 26 nieces and nephews, 90 great-nieces and nephews, and 60 great-great nieces and nephews. He was predeceased by his siblings John T. Lyons, Jr., James J. Lyons, Mary R. Tucker, Francis J. Lyons, Cecilia C. Lyons, Teresa M. Lyons, Henry V. Lyons, and Joseph R. Lyons.
Relatives and friends are invited to his visitation Monday January 11, 2021 from 10-10:45 at the SS. Peter and Paul Roman Catholic Church, 1325 Boot Road, West Chester, PA. Funeral Mass will be at 11am. Interment will take place at the Calvary Cemetery, Conshohocken, PA.
In lieu of flowers, the Lyons family would appreciate contributions to Camilla Hall Convent Home & Healthcare Center, 100 Maxis Drive, Malvern, PA 19355 – 610-386-2000.
Arrangements by DellaVecchia, Reilly, Smith & Boyd Funeral Home, Inc. 410 N. Church St. West Chester, PA 19380 - Tel: 610-696-1181.