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Personal History of Albert Lewis Lyons, Sr. (1909 - 1981)

This is a personal history of Albert L. Lyons transcribed by is daughter Carolyn Lyons Engstrom on April 23, 1994. He made this recording in 1975.

Photograph of Albert Lyons in 1973

Table of Contents

1 Table of Contents
2 Personal History
2a Introduction
2b Childhood
2c Schooling
2d Occupation
2e Family Life
2f Church
3 Observations of Carolyn Lyons Engstrom, Daughter
4 Obituary
5 Genealogy program generated data for Albert Lewis Lyons
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Personal History

Table of Contents


This is a history of Albert L. Lyons. I'll make this in five separate areas, namely: childhood, schooling, occupation, family and church.

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First: Childhood. I was born at my parents home about 849 West 3rd South Salt Lake City, Utah, on July 17, 1909 and was the 3rd boy of the four boys. The first was Harry James Lyons, who was born in Salt Lake City on November 24, 1905. Next was George Emery Lyons Jr., who was born June 5, 1907, also in Salt Lake City. Then a younger brother, Harold Vernon Lyons, born Sept 14, 1910. My father was George Emery Lyons, my mother was Ruth Hazel Sainsbury Lyons. As a child I remember my two grandmothers, my grandfathers had passed away before I was born. My grandmother Sainsbury lived in Salt Lake and with us part of the time. She used to tell us stories of the hardships of the days old west and how it was to live in the days of the pioneers. She being one of them, she also told us stories about the Indians and how they used to come to the homes asking for food. It was a treat as children to hear these stories. Some were pretty scary and she was a good story teller. She lived to be 90 and was very sharp.

My grandmother Lyons lived in Los Angeles and each summer as school let out, Mother packed our clothes for the four boys and herself and we went to Los Angeles and spent the summer months there. It was always a treat because we loved the train ride, and we always went down by train, in as much as we had free transportation because our father was an engineer on the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad. It was a treat also because she lived in a modern home that had inside bathrooms, and we could take a bath anytime we wanted in warm water. At home we had an outhouse and our bath consisted of a Saturday night tub in the kitchen by the old coal stove, where we kept warm while we took our bath. Going to Los Angeles would take us approximately three days going through Provo, and Lynndyl and Milford and down that way and it took us that long to get there. As of today it is only a short trip the way the route is now. At the time it wasn't until later that we appreciated how much fun these summer vacations were. They seemed to make us enjoy our stay at home after we got back and make us look forward to the following year when we could go down again. We enjoyed swimming and doing things that boys enjoyed doing at that time very much. My grandmother had an old touring car and we used to go to the beach and to different places in her automobile it was a real thrill to go out and visit different resorts and she always made it interesting she had something for us to do all the time and we really enjoyed it. There was community swimming pool close (within walking distance) and we used to do a lot of swimming. In those days it was a real fun time.

When I was six, we moved to Popular Grove, which was on the west side of Salt Lake City. We moved to 915 South 13th West. We were excited at the time. The house was a lot larger, but it was in really sad condition, in fact, the children in the neighborhood called it the haunted house. We loved it there, there was a large potato cellar in the back yard with several fruit trees and chicken coops. So we had chickens, pigeons, rabbits, dogs, and cats. Speaking of cats, Dad got the idea that there was big money in raising cats at this time and selling them, There were times when we had as many as 20 or 30 cats around the house running everyplace. Each one had a name and record, we would get $10 for the male and $15 for the female, that is when we could sell them. There were periods of time when we didn't sell hardly any so they were stacking up on us. They were a special breed of cats called Persians with long hair. Dad loved animals and was always bringing home stray dogs. We'd feed them and then give them away. We were never without a kind of pets. Dad enjoyed working around the house at this time. A house that was run down at first became a showplace. We had the prettiest flowers in the whole neighborhood.

When I was 12 years old I joined the Boy Scouts and it was exciting because my two older brothers were in the troop at the time. We didn't go to the troop in the ward our meeting was held in the Neighborhood House so we had to ride the street car, usually we would walk home as it was a couple of miles. It was always dark and there were the three of us and we would see who could scare the others the most. We enjoyed our Scout experience very much.

Like any other kids we all grew up with our troubles, Emery and I used to fight a lot. In fact, I had very little trouble staying out of fights in the neighborhood because of the way we would go at it. We always shared beds and just about everything else.

When I was 13 years old, we moved to 56 Van Buren Ave in Salt Lake. The house there was brand new, in fact, it wasn't even finished, we had to paint, put in sidewalks and had to be do several things before we could move in. But it was sure a beautiful place. It had inside bathroom, inside plumbing and this was our family home until I left to get married. We had a large sleeping porch built on the back of the house. This gave us two bedrooms in the home and a large room, Mother and Dad had the front bedroom, Grandmother Sainsbury had the middle bedroom in the house and we had two double beds on the porch. So all four of us boys slept in the back room. This was not a regular room it was just a wood porch with windows in it. During the winter, there were ice cycles hanging from the ceiling. During the summer it was so real hot that we could hardly stand it. But we got used to it and it was real fun.

I will close this chapter by saying that very few have a better childhood with the love and understanding that we had in our home. We always had plenty of food and never wanted for anything.

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The second part of my history is Schooling. I started school in kindergarten in the Franklin School which is located about 7th West and 2nd South at five years old. Then we moved, at the age of 6 I started the first grade at the Edison School at about 13th West and 7th South. I completed, went through the 7th grade there.

We moved when I was 13 years I began Jr. High at South Jr. High School, after that I went through South Jr. High, then through the West High School, graduating in 1928. I was never an outstanding student, however I was what you might call ordinary or average. I did get my share of A's and B's and was able to go through school without trouble. I liked shops and sports and History in school and Geography. I was always good in shops and took as many as I could. I was good with my hands at wood work and auto mechanics, and steel work I took just about all the shops they had to offer at the West High School.

At that time West High was the nearest High School, there was only the two high schools in the city. That was East and West, West being on 2nd West and 2nd North, and East being on 13th East and 9th South. So we lived just about half way between the two schools, being on Main Street and 17th South. We decided most of the people in that neighborhood went to West High School anyway so that is the reason we decided to go to West High. I had an opportunity at the time I was at West to become athletic manager of the sporting teams, the football, baseball and basket ball, and track teams and got some valuable experience in this line, as to taking care of bruises and things of that sort.

I did go out for football, I was small and had a lot of ideas that I was as good as the next one and so I went out for football, I tried out for end at first but I was 5' 6" and that was not tall enough to get an end position so they moved me to the backfield I ended up being a substitute for the fullback, so I became a fullback of the team. The captain of the team was the regular fullback so I was his first substitute. In 1927 our football team won every game they played so we went to the State Championship and we won that by a big margin, we did have a big team that year, I however was only 135 pounds and was the smallest one on the team. I played on the 1926-27-28 teams and enjoyed every minute of it. The year we won the State Championship they gave us gold footballs and a sweater, the sweater wore out but I still have the gold football.

I did have a part in the school play my senior year. I took a part in that and was able to enjoy that very much. I did enjoy my schooling in High School I enjoyed every bit even to the R.O.T.C which was the army part of it. It was enjoyable and a lot of the fellows got out of because they played football but I didn't and still wore the uniform and enjoyed that. This is as far as I went through school, through High School, graduating from High School. I didn't go to collage because I had no means of doing so, I went from High School right into work.

While I was going to school, during summer vacations while I was going to High School I worked as a section hand on the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad, this was for a two fold purpose. First to put more strength in my muscles to withstand the shock of playing football and the other purpose was the money that came out of it. The work was very hard and we worked for 10 to 12 hours every day, six days a week. The second purpose was to help buy my school clothes for the coming year. This was the hardest work I ever had to do, but it taught me to appreciate what it means to put in a good day's work. My pay was 36 cents an hour but at time it was good money. We worked out of Salt Lake most of the time and spent most of the time putting in the rail in what is now called the Roper yards.

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Occupation: After I graduated from High School jobs were hard to find but a friend and neighbor of ours, Mark Bell was working for the Union Pacific Railroad as a messenger boy and asked me to work with him, and take his place while he was on vacation. That two weeks extended into 45 years with the Union Pacific Railroad. I started March 11, 1929, as a messenger boy for 56 cents an hour. I worked 10 hours a day six days a week and after I had been there a short time, in fact my seniority date starts July 2, 1929, I had my first A class assignment as a train checker and it paid me $1.19 an hour, my first raise. I held several different jobs during the depression years but most of the time as messenger boy, during this time I worked in Montpelier, Grace, McCamon, Idaho, and Caliente, Nevada, and even put in 6 months in Pocatello, Idaho. I worked every clerical job in the freight office, and also the north yard office during the depression years.

I transferred to the passenger office during the depression and was a ticket clerk in 1943 I transferred to the transportation office in the Hotel Utah. In 1958 our offices our offices were moved to the new First Security Bank Building on 4th South and Main. In 1959 I was made head reservation and information clerk I held this office until Amtrak too over the railroad, passenger wise, in 1970. With there being no more passenger service, I became a general clerk in the freight office, freight traffic department, our offices were moved to the old depot. On July 20, 1973 I took a disability pension, at the age of 64 just one year early. I was glad and appreciated all those I worked with. I remember good and bad times spent with my many friends I had made during these years.

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Family Life

My early life was reviewed at the first of this tape so as I think of a family life, now I think of the courtship and marriage I had with my wife Cleo Hansen. A marriage which took place January 29, 1936, in her home at 1475 South 3rd East, Salt Lake City. There were just a few friends and members of the family present and the ceremony was performed by Cleo's bishop, Fred W. Swendiman. Six months before our first child was to be born. I was transferred to Pocatello, Idaho, so we stored all our furniture, and planned to get back to Salt Lake before the big event took place. But on June the first I was bumped off my regular job in Pocatello and came to Salt Lake to see if I could get another job.

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Church: When I was about 10 my mother who was a member of the church, made arrangements to have us 4 boys baptized, but Dad wouldn't give his permission so none of us were baptized. She felt bad. Cleo and my brother Emery got me interested in the Church and we had the stake missionaries come to out home and on January 23, 1941 my brother baptized me and Cleo's brother confirmed me. In a short time I was advanced in the Priesthood and on Jan 4, 1942 I was made an Elder. On June 5, 1942 we went to the temple. We had three child at this time that were sealed to us.

A short time before I was baptized Dick Foreman came to me and asked me to be his counselor in the MIA. This was the beginning of my Church activities. We lived in the Whittier Ward, Wells Stake. Soon the ward was divided and I was called to be ward clerk in the new Browning Ward. I held this position for 7 1/2 years. On May 2, 1946 I was ordained a Seventy by Elder Milton R. Hunter. After I was released as ward clerk, I served as one of the Presidents of the Seventies in the stake until 1950 when we moved into Hawthorne Ward, Sugarhouse Stake. I continued my activities in the Seventies Quorum until I was called to be a counselor in the bishopric. I was ordained a High Priest and set apart as a counselor in the Hawthorne Ward on Jan 19, 1957 by Sterling W. Sill. I served in this position for 5 years. I have had the full support of my wife and family in every position I have held and each position has helped to strengthen my testimony.

We moved to 2004 Stratford Dr in July 1963 and I was called as Chairman of the Aaronic Priesthood in the Crystal Heights Ward which gave me the opportunity to get acquainted with the young people and their parents. I enjoyed attending the sports activities the boys were involved in.

I was then called to serve in the Sunday School Presidency which I enjoyed very much until my health made it impossible for me to continue.

My health problems began in about 1970, when I started falling down quite often. I went to the hospital for tests, the results of some of them were encouraging but the muscle biopsy tests they took showed I had a rare muscle disease called Poly-myo-sitis, which means inflammation of many muscles. There isn't much they can do for it. I take Predizone for it, which slows it down, but it has it's side effects also, such as ulcers, stomach problems and cataracts. We don't realize how important each little muscle is until the strength it gives us is gone.

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Observations of Carolyn Lyons Engstrom, Daughter

I put a footnote on the short history and won't say the same things here. I finished this as if Dad had finished it in 1974. This was before he was so sick. He was so brave the last few years of his life and never complained but was so courageous. He was always appreciative of all that was done for him and up to the end his testimony of the Gospel was strong. He was a wonderful example to me and I will always love him and be thankful that he was my father.

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Albert L. Lyons

Beloved husband, father and grandfather, Albert Lewis Lyons, age 72, died September 1, 1981 of an extended illness.

Born July 17, 1909, Salt Lake City to George Emery and Ruth Hazel Sainsbury Lyons. Married Mary Cleo Hansen, January 29, 1937m Salt Lake City. Marriage solemnized in the Salt Lake LDS Temple, June 5, 1942. Active in the LDS Church holding many leadership positions. Retired after 45 years service with Union Pacific Railroad. Served as president of the Jr. Old Timer's Club.

Survived by wife, son, Albert Lewis Lyons, Jr.; five daughters, Marilyn Lyons, Mrs. Steven (Nancy) Anderson, Mrs. Dan (Diana) Kizerian, all of Salt Lake City; Mrs. Donald (Carolyn) Engstrom, Orem; Mrs. Darold (Bonnie) Galloway, Ogden; 13 grandchildren; brother, Harry Lyons, California.

Funeral services Friday 12:00 Noon in the Crystal Heights 1st Ward, 1970 East Stratford Ave. Friends may call at the Deseret Mortuary, 36 East 700 South, Thursday evening from 6-8 p.m. and one hour prior to the service at the Ward Chapel. Interment: Lake Hills Memorial Park.

(Deseret News, 3 September 1981)

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Genealogy program generated data for Albert Lewis Lyons

Albert Lewis Lyons Sr. was born on 17 Jul 1909 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. He died on 1 Sep 1981 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States from Cardiac arrest due to arterioxclerotic heart disease and polymyoritis. He was buried on 4 Sep 1981 in Sandy, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Albert worked as Union Pacific Railroad passenger ticket agent in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.

Albert married Mary Cleo Hansen "Cleo", daughter of Amasa Niels Hansen and Minnie Olsen, on 29 Jan 1937 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Cleo was born on 9 Jun 1916 in Richfield, Sevier, Utah, United States. She died on 1 Aug 2003 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States from dementia, vascular due to advanced age. She was buried on 5 Aug 2003 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.

They had the following children.

  1 F Marilyn Cleo Lyons was born on 2 Jun 1938 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. She died on 8 Sep 1998 in Orem, Utah, Utah, United States from Uterine cancer. She was buried on 14 Sep 1998 in Sandy, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Marilyn worked as Professor of Nursing, Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah, Utah, United States.
  2 F Carolyn Ruth Lyons was born on 2 Jun 1938 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
      Carolyn married Donald Emmett Engstrom, son of Darwin Engstrom and Helen Isabel Manning, on 14 Feb 1964 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Donald was born on 24 Mar 1936 in Cheyenne, Laramie, Wyoming, United States.
  3 F Bonnie Jean Lyons was born on 27 Aug 1940 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Bonnie worked as Office Manager, Sun Play Swimming Pools in Ogden, Weber, Utah, United States.
      Bonnie married Darold Edwin Galloway, son of Charles Edwin Galloway and Florence Laone Austin, on 12 Jun 1958 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Darold was born on 26 Feb 1935 in Logan, Cache, Utah, United States.
Darold worked as Owner -Sunplay Pools (Install and sold swimming pools and supplies) in Ogden, Weber, Utah, United States.
  4 F Nancy Kay Lyons was born on 29 Feb 1944 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Nancy worked as Telephone Company employee in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
      Nancy married Steven L. Anderson "Steve", son of Clyde Leslie Anderson and Betty Lee Windwood, on 6 Nov 1965 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Steve was born on 23 Jan 1943 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Steve worked as Salesman and business manager in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
  5 M Albert Lewis Lyons Jr. was born on 29 Dec 1947 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Bert worked as Union Pacific Railroad diesel locomotive mechanic in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
      Bert married Mary Sue Rollins, daughter of Lewis Tine Rollins and Mary Elizabeth Scott, on 7 Aug 1970 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Mary was born on 14 Oct 1950 in Rock Springs, Sweetwater, Wyoming, United States.
  6 F Dianna Lynne Lyons was born on 24 Feb 1953 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
Dianna worked as Telephone company employee in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.
      Dianna married Dan Kizerian, son of David Kizerian and Donna, on 27 Aug 1971 in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States. Dan was born on 28 Aug 1950 in Vallejo, Solano, California, United States.
Dan worked as fireman in Salt Lake City, Salt Lake, Utah, United States.