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Sterling Rufus Webster LYON

LYON, Sterling Rufus Webster - P.C., O.C., O.M., Q.C It is with great sadness that the Lyon family announce the passing of Sterling Rufus Webster Lyon, P.C., O.C., O.M., Q.C., on December 16, 2010, following a brief illness. He was predeceased in 2006 by his beloved wife Barbara and is survived by his five children, Nancy, Andrea, Peter, Jennifer and Jonathon and their respective partners Doug, Denyse, Alex, Amanda and Bonnie, and six grandchildren, Alexandra, Calum and Kerry Matthews, Jonny and Kathryn Lyon, and Fraser Lyon. He was also predeceased by his mother Ella Mae Lyon and sister Allison Little. Dad was born on January 30, 1927 in Windsor, Ontario and raised in Portage la Prairie, Manitoba. After graduating from the University of Winnipeg in 1948 with his BA, Dad worked as a reporter for the Winnipeg Free Press before entering law school, where he was President of the Manitoba Law Students' Association. He graduated from the University of Manitoba in 1953 with his LL.B. and went on to serve as a Crown Attorney with the Manitoba Department of the Attorney General. After entering private practice in 1957, he acted as defence counsel in the noted Northwest Territories murder trial of Regina v. Kikkik. He was first elected to the Manitoba Legislature in 1958 and served as a cabinet minister in the government of Duff Roblin as Attorney General, Government House Leader, Minister of Public Utilities, Minister of Municipal Affairs, and Minister of Mines and Natural Resources. He returned to private life in 1969. In 1975, Dad was elected leader of the Manitoba Progressive Conservative Party and was sworn in as Premier of Manitoba following the 1977 general election. His government was marked by a focus on fiscal responsibility, the modernization of social programs, and enhancing the economic growth and prosperity of Manitoba. He played a key role in the 1982 patriation of Canada's Constitution and the development of the Charter of Rights and Freedom, including the inclusion of the notwithstanding clause in the Charter which preserves the supremacy of Parliament with respect to constitutional matters. Following the 1981 provincial election, Dad served as Leader of the Opposition until 1983. In 1986, he was appointed a Judge of Appeal of the Manitoba Court of Appeal and he retired in 2002 after a most distinguished and remarkable career. He often said what a great privilege it was to have been entrusted by his constituents and the people of Manitoba as the trustee to manage their public affairs and he was very honoured that his public service was acknowledged by his appointment to the Privy Council in 1982, his induction into the Order of Manitoba in 2002 and his appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2009. Sterling Lyon was a committed and principled public servant; gifted with a sharp mind and a quick wit, he was an eloquent orator and a fierce defender of the rule of law and sound public policy. Above all, he was a devoted family man and he treasured his time with family and especially his grandchildren who were a source of great pride and delight to him. He took care to shield his family from the glare of the media during his time in government but at the same time he gave them the opportunity to participate in the political process and the Lyon children benefitted from lively dinner table discussions with a host of interesting guests, among them the leading statesmen of the day. Dad, known as "Red" to family and close friends, enjoyed puttering in his vegetable garden and was an avid reader of history and political biographies, particularly of Winston Churchill, who was one of his political heroes. He loved spending time at the cottage at Delta, MB, where he and his wife Barbara entertained friends and family. He was also a hunter and conservationist, and a longstanding member of the Delta Waterfowl Foundation and an honourary life member of the Manitoba Wildlife Federation. The family is grateful for the support and kind words of appreciation and respect for Sterling Lyon that have been expressed by people from across the country. The family would also like to thank the staff at the Grace Hospital, the Wellington retirement residence and Drake-Medox, and Dad's physician, Dr. Andrew Jowett for their care and attention to Dad. The funeral service will take place on Wednesday, December 22 at 1:00 pm at Westminster United Church with Reverend Robert Campbell officiating. Private family interment. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Fort Whyte Alive, 1961 McCreary Rd. Winnipeg, MB R3P 2K9 or the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Manitoba, 6 Donald Street Suite 200 Winnipeg, Manitoba R3L 0K6. Thomson “In the Park” 925-1120 Condolences may be sent to www.thomsoninthepark.com 9738014
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