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Encyclopedia Dubuque


"Encyclopedia Dubuque is the online authority for all things Dubuque, written by the people who know the city best.”
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Affiliated with the Local History Network of the State Historical Society of Iowa, and the Iowa Museum Association.

LYON, Randolph W.

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LYON, Randolph W. (Cedar Rapids, IA, July 4, 1949-- ). Encyclopedia Dubuque is the latest of many online and print publications Lyon has written, co-authored, or served as a contributor. He was the author of Dubuque, the Encyclopedia (1991) upon which this website is based. He followed this in 1998 with Faith and Fortunes: An Encyclopedia of Dubuque County. This book was published as part of the Iowa sesquicentennial celebration; all monies raised from the sale of the book were divided evenly among the seven county historical societies to fund their own projects. He was the co-author of Between Two Rivers: Iowa Year by Year, 1846-1996 published by the Iowa State Press. His co-author on this project was Allan Carpenter, the author of dozens of series of books. Carpenter had earlier hired Lyon as a contributor for three regional encyclopedias--The Encyclopedia of the Midwest (1989), The Encyclopedia of the Central West(1990), and The Encyclopedia of the Far West (1991)--for the publisher Facts on File.

Lyon's writings have not been limited to books. Over the years, articles written by him appeared in The Iowan, Science Activities, Arts and Activities, Julien's Journal, Flower and Garden and Learning magazines. In 1972 he wrote The Water Flows: A Primary Source History of the American Indian for Creative Visuals of Big Spring, Texas. The six cassette series provided students with primary sources which could be incorporated into a unit of study. In 1974 Creative Visuals published his three filmstrip series Archaeological Dig at Tel Gezer based upon the author's experiences in Israel. In 2007 the Iowa State Education Association produced Lyon's Shining Stars and Everyday Heroes. This two-CD kit included an encyclopedia of Iowa history including over 5,800 entries. There was also a year's course of daily oral language activities based on Iowa history and lesson plans designed to encourage writing, map skills, and even an appreciation of a community's architectural history.

Lyon developed two multi-cultural calendars for the Iowa State Education Association and the Iowa daily historical calendar used for many years on the website of the State Historical Society of Iowa. From 1991-1999 he supplied the text for the popular "Not So Long Ago: The Dubuque of Our Memories" calendars for FIRST NATIONAL BANK OF DUBUQUE. These featured the art work of Dubuque artist, Norman ZEPESKI.

Lyon taught in the DUBUQUE COMMUNITY SCHOOL DISTRICT from 1972-2010. He was a member of the district's first talented and gifted committee and helped write a grant through which monies were received from Phi Delta Kappa to fund a pilot program at HOOVER ELEMENTARY SCHOOL in the early 1970s. Fascinated by the architecture present in Dubuque, he instructed students in characteristics of the different styles. Each spring for over twenty years, he then led his class on a "walking tour" from Hoover past the University of Dubuque, and down West Third to the downtown area. As they identified the styles of homes, he related information about the history of the homes' previous owners. Lyon frequently served on school district science and social studies committees. He served on the Dubuque Housing Commission, board member of the Dubuque Education Association and the JDC UniServ Unit of the Iowa State Education Association, and as a deacon and Spruce-Up Crew member at FIRST CONGREGATIONAL UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST.

In 1991 Lyon was one of the first ten educators in Dubuque County to receive the GOLD STAR AWARD for teaching from KWWL. He was named an "outstanding teacher" three times by students in the Belin-Blank Center at the University of Iowa and four times by students from the Northeast Iowa Community College. As of 2005 he had been cited five times in Who's Who Among America's Teachers. Lyon was the first person to serve four years as president of the DUBUQUE EDUCATION ASSOCIATION (1982-1986). In 2006 he received the Excellence in Education Award from the Masons of the Masonic Lodge No. 125. In 2008 he was selected the historian of the Dubuque Community School District. Lyon was one of five finalists for the 2010 IOWA TEACHER OF THE YEAR award. In 2013 the Dubuque County Democratic Party named him "Volunteer of the Year" for setting a nation-wide individual record of signing up 1,708 early voters during the presidential election of 2012. He was named the recipient of the 2018 Ann Michalski Distinguished Service Award by the Dubuque County Democratic Party.

In 2014 Lyon worked with members of the Downtown Neighborhood Association to establish signage in Jackson Park. He also accepted offers to join the executive boards of the Dubuque Railroad Museum and Cultural Center as well as the Thomas Determan Global Perspectives.

Lyon holds membership in Phi Delta Kappa, a national education academic honors organization. His interest in family history has led to the discovery of such ancestors as Sir John De Lacy, a Magna Charta Surety; John de Wells, Viscount and Knight of the Garter (13th great grandfather); and Sir Lord Admiral William Howard, Knight of the Garter and Lord High Admiral of the English Fleet (12th great-grandfather); Sir Knight of Royal Garter, William de Walton Glover (11th great-grandfather); Capt. John Marchant (11th great-grandfather), privateer and officer who served with Sir Francis Drake; and David Hawley, naval officer and privateer during the American Revolution. Lyon is a member of the following hereditary societies:

                                    National Society of the Sons of the American Revolution
                                          Descendant of Col. Archelaus Fuller 
                                       Elected 1st Vice President-Iowa Society (2022)
                                    The Society of the Descendants of Charlemagne
                                    The Society of the Knights Templar Descendants
                                          Descendant of Sir William Marshal
                                    Descendants of the Founding Fathers of New England
                                          Descendant of Thomas Fuller
                                    Descendants of the Founders of New Jersey
                                          Descendant of Capt. Frances Drake
                                              Founder, "Jersey Blues"
                                 First Organized Militia Regiment in the Western World  
                                    Guild of Colonial Artisans and Tradesmen 1607-1783
                                           Master Guilder Ranking  
                                               Descendant of:
                                            John Symonds-Arkwright 
                                            Joseph Hawley-Textile Merchant
                                            Samuel Hawley-Textile Manufacturer
                                            Michael Bacon II-Produce Provider
                                            Thomas Fuller-Blacksmith
                                            Michael Bacon III-Artist
                                            Richard Kimball-Wheelwright       
                                               Flagon and Trencher
                                           Descendant of Joseph Hawley
                                    Sons of Union Veterans of the Civil War
                                           Descendant of Peter Wilson
                                    Descendants of Early Postmasters 1607-1900
                                           Descendant of Joseph Hawley
                                    National Society of the Sons of the American Colonists
                                           Descendant of Samuel Hawley
                                    The Plymouth Hereditary Society
                                           Descendant of Edward Fitz Randolph
                                    The Hawley Society
                                    The Society of Wilson Family Descendants
                                           President of the Society for ten years

Lyon is married. His wife, Ruth, served as the director of bell and vocal choirs at First Congregational United Church of Christ. She was also an award winning quilter. Their daughter Christine is a partner in a California law firm. Their daughter Angela is an administrator with the University of Iowa Hospitals.