Oct 13, 2020

TAPS: Commander Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., USNR (Retired)

Lyon Gardiner Tyler Jr., 95, of Franklin, died 26 September 2020. He was the grandson of 10th U.S. President John Tyler.

Lyon was born in Richmond, Virginia to Lyon Gardiner Tyler Sr. and Susan Ruffin Tyler on 3 January 1925. He grew up in Charles City County, Virginia and graduated from St. Christopher’s School (’41). He entered The College of William and Mary at age 16, where he was president of the student body, a member of the Kappa Alpha Order and graduated in 1947.

His formal education was interrupted in 1942 due to World War II, where he served as a naval officer in the Pacific. After the war, he served in the Naval Intelligence Reserves and retired with the rank of commander.

He earned a law degree from the University of Virginia (’49), served as a law clerk to a federal judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals, practiced law in Virginia and was elected commonwealth’s attorney for Charles City County.

In 1960, he became the assistant director of the Virginia Civil War Centennial Commission, hoping to unite the country rather than further divide it, which led him to earn his doctorate in history from Duke University.

He embarked on a teaching career at Virginia Military Institute, where he re-designed the VMI Museum, followed by The Citadel for over 20 years, establishing a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship for cadets.

In 2000, he and his family moved to his wife’s family farm in Franklin, where he was an active member in many organizations including St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church.

His beloved wife of 43 years, Lucy Jane Pope Tyler, preceded him in death.

He is survived by his daughter, Susan Selina Pope Tyler; brother, Harrison Ruffin Tyler of Richmond, Virginia; niece, Julia Gardiner Tyler Samaniego of Rancho Santa Fe, California; nephew, Harrison Ruffin Tyler Jr., and wife, Cathy, of Alexandria, Virginia; nephew, William Bouknight Tyler, and wife, Kay, of Richmond, Virginia; and eight great-nieces and nephews.

Funeral services and interment will be held at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020 at Westover Episcopal Church in Charles City, Virginia. A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 at St. Bartholomew’s Episcopal Church in Nashville. Both services will be live streamed and recorded via the respective church’s websites.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Christ for All Nations, PO Box 590588, Orlando, FL 32859-0588 or cfan.org/donate.