Mildred  Lyon


Born in the 1880s, John Worthen and his wife, Pearl, moved from their Iowa home to Washington State at the dawn of the 20th century. Captured by the mountains and the sea, they found their future at the edge of the continent, building their new home and fortune in the burgeoning young city of Seattle.
In 1921, while visiting extended family back in Ottumwa, they welcomed the fourth of what would be five children born into their loving arms. They named her Mildred, after her father's sister, who would become a beloved aunt. Shortly thereafter, the Worthens returned to Washington, where all of the Worthen children would grow, attend school, and establish their own homes. Mildred, like her three sisters and one brother, graduated from Seattle's Lincoln High School. As a young woman, she began her career at The Bon Marche downtown, an elegant department store which immersed her into a world of style and fashion that helped define her world for a lifetime.
More influential, though, was the Church of God. Her parents were Church of God pioneers, both in Iowa and in Washington, deeply grounded in a community of faith that emphasized Jesus, the authority of Scripture, and the wonders of a life lived by the power of the Holy Spirit. At times, she dared some of the boundaries of that holiness upbringing (which, when she was young, discouraged the wearing of jewelry and make-up, for instance), but chose to follow Jesus just the same. From an early age, she treasured the Word, the Church of God, the church's music and message, and a transforming relationship with Christ. Her living faith, her loving family, and her profound allegiance to the truths and values with which she was raised anchored her throughout a long and eventful life. She revered her parents and the rich fabric of life in Seattle that framed her. Like theirs, hers is a story of decades of quiet generosity and grace; Heaven only knows the names of those she blessed and even rescued.
That life had its share of disappointments and loss. Still, on bright mountaintops and in chill valleys, she proved herself fiercely independent, resilient, and strong. Unable to conceive and longing to be a mom, she prayed without ceasing and waited a decade to adopt, at last receiving a son, Jim. Abandoned by her first husband in the sad unraveling of a home, she prayed and waited, before marrying in the 1950s the man who would honor her and her young son, Don Lyon. Don was to her a prince and a true partner for life; he passed away in 2016. She, for her part, excelled as a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mom, a grandmother, and a great-grandmother. A terrific cook and hostess, she loved to entertain in her home, work in the church kitchen, and win others with gifts of generosity and hospitality.
Don and Mildred relocated to Anderson, Indiana, late in life, to be near their son and his family, who had moved from Seattle to Indiana earlier. In Anderson, they found a new church home at Madison Park Church of God, which they loved as they did their original church home in Seattle, Fairview Church of God.
Mildred passed away peacefully, after a brief illness, on the evening of Jan. 11, in her Anderson home. She lived independently until Christmas Eve 2018, when pneumonia sent her to the hospital. Her family thanks God for allowing her to be with them so long and in such good form.
Mildred is survived by her son, Jim Lyon; his wife, Maureen (Anderson, Indiana); her four grandsons, Jacob (wife, Emily) Lyon (Anchorage, Alaska), Peter (wife, Nicole) Lyon (Anderson, Indiana), Andrew Lyon (Seattle, Washington), and Nathanael (wife, Kimmi) Lyon (Dayton, Ohio); six great-grandchildren; and a large, extraordinary extended family, of which she was the last matriarch, the last of a generation of Worthens, modeling faith, family, and love.
She is also survived by a treasured niece, Janet Ropkins (husband, Bill) Kockritz (Seattle, Washington), who became as close and dear as a daughter would have been, to both Don and Mildred.
A service celebrating her life will be held in Seattle at the Fairview Church on Friday, Jan. 18, at 3 p.m.
Memorial gifts may be made to the Madison Park Church, P.O. Box 2479, Anderson, IN 46018, or the Fairview Church, 844 Northeast 78th St., Seattle, WA 98115.
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Published on January 14, 2019
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