Our columnist, friend and colleague Bill Lyon passed away recently in November at age 81, after a battle with Alzheimer’s disease. A longtime columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a giant on the Philadelphia sports scene, I knew of Bill’s talented and seemingly effortless writing long before I had the enormous pleasure of reading and editing his columns for this magazine. With his passion for sports and his humanity always on display, Bill filled his essays with a simple eloquence. He was a sportswriter’s sportswriter and a unique talent whose presence is greatly missed.
Our publisher Ken Dunek shared his thoughts on Bill’s passing:
“As a professional football player in the early 80s, I always admired Bill Lyon’s folksy style of spinning a yarn as it related to whatever particular game he was covering at that moment. We were both from the farmlands of Illinois (Bill from Champaign, and me a bit farther north in Marengo, McHenry County).
After JerseyMan Magazine started in 2010, and subsequently PhillyMan a few years later, I received an email from Bill asking me if I was interested in having him contribute. Of course, my pride meter was off the charts, but I played it cool because I wasn’t sure if we could afford him.
He never asked about the money. He just wanted to ply his craft. When we met for lunch several years ago and he told me about his diagnosis of Alzheimer’s, I asked him if he would be willing to let me share his story in my Publisher’s column.
He agreed because he thought my words about him might help people. I hope they did Bill.
And I hope you knew how much I appreciated our relationship all these years. RIP friend.
Heaven just got one helluva writer.”