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Maxwell Lyons II Estate Donates $50,000 for Students Dedicated to Helping Others

Maxwell Lyons II
Maxwell Lyons II

Maxwell Lyons II left a gift of $50,000 to the University of Arkansas at Little Rock to support students who are dedicated to helping others.

Lyons’s estate gift will benefit the Salene and Maxwell Lyons Family Scholarship Fund, which was established in 1974 in honor of his parents. The scholarship fund benefits juniors and seniors majoring in philosophy, religion, and sociology, what Lyons described as the “helping professions.”

“My father spent his whole life helping others, and he selected disciplines for the scholarship recipients that would foster people to work in areas where they would help others,” said Nancy Lyons Kimpel of Little Rock, Lyons’ eldest daughter, who described her father as a generous man who taught his daughters about the value of higher education.

“My parents were adamant that we all go to college and not get married until we graduated,” Kimpel said. “They insisted that we go out of Arkansas to see how other people live in the country.”

A native of Little Rock, Lyons passed away in 2022 at the age of 96. He was married to his wife, Betty, for 53 years until Betty’s death in 2007. The couple had four daughters, nine grandchildren, and 14 great-grandchildren.

Lyons was a graduate of Little Rock Central High School and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Princeton University in 1947 and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Colorado in 1950. He was a World War II veteran, having served in the U.S. Navy as an aviation electronic technician.

He joined the family business, Lyons Machinery Company, a third-generation construction equipment and supply business founded in 1914 by his grandfather. Lyons worked there until the business was sold in 1983 and continued his career as general manager of Darragh Company until his retirement in 1998.

“He was one of the most incredible people that I had ever known,” Kimpel said. “He never met a stranger because he could always find something in common with anyone. He was a generous man, and he was generous with his purse. If he believed in an institution, he gave of his purse.”

Lyons was passionate about giving back to the community. He was a founder of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Little Rock. He volunteered for and served on the board of many organizations throughout the years, including Temple B’Nai Israel, Jewish Welfare Board, Ouachita Girl Scout Council, Arkansas Interfaith Council, American Red Cross, and Arkansas Equipment Dealers Association.

“He was very civic minded and active in the community,” Kimpel said. “He seemed to go to meetings every night, and he instilled in us girls the importance of service to the community and helping others. My father was loved and well revered by a lot of people.”