Joan Mander Lyons, age 77, died at College Station on Monday, Oct. 17, 2011 due to complications of Alzheimer’s. Born Jan. 14, 1934 in Chicago, Illinois to William and Claudia Mander, she attended Immaculta High School.

During high school, she worked at the Chicago Tribune where her mom and aunt were employed. Upon graduating, she spread her wings and left her large circle of family and friends to earn a Bachelor’s in philosophy from Loretto Heights College in Denver, Colorado. There she was introduced to Francis Lyons whom she wed Feb. 4, 1956 in Pittsburg, Kansas. A few months later they were transferred to Orange, where they raised a family of six children.

She never met a stranger and over the years “adopted” other daughters. Joan was very active in the community. She taught swimming lessons for 18 years, and helped start St. Therese’s Day School. She worked suicide rescue, taught English to Vietnamese immigrants, and helped with CASA, AIDS House, and a local soup kitchen.

At the age of 50, Joan went back to school to earn her Master’s in English and learned “college teaching was a delight” when she received a full-time teaching position from Lamar University-Orange. After retiring from teaching, Joan stayed active through volunteering and church activities even after moving to College Station in 2006.

Joan will be especially remembered for her part in establishing the Southeast Texas Hospice that opened in 1973. At that time it was the first hospice in the South and the eighth in the nation.

Survivors include husband Francis Lyons; children Claudia and Jimmy Krause, Tim and Stacie Lyons, Anne Thorshov, John and Brenda Lyons, Patrick and Kim Lyons, and David and Ivonne Lyons; sister Cathy and Richard Heyerdahl; and sister-in-law Therese Yoakam. Joan had 12 grandchildren, and six great grandchildren.

A private service for family only will be held at A&M United Methodist Church. A remembrance gathering for friends and family will be held Saturday, Oct. 22, from 10:00 am -noon at the First Presbyterian Church of Orange.

Memorial contributions are welcome at Southeast Texas Hospice, 912 West Cherry Avenue, Orange, TX 77630.

A special thanks goes to Connie Bailey for her loving care and Traditions Hospice for their help and support.

View her Book of Memories at