Pearl Lyon, Tribe's eldest Elder, walks on

Pearl Hughberta Lyon, the Tribe’s eldest Elder at 105 years of age, walked on in the early morning of Wednesday, Nov. 29, in McMinnville, Tribal Council member Denise Harvey announced at that afternoon’s Tribal Council meeting.

According to a Smoke Signals story written about Lyon when she turned 100 in 2012, she was born Feb. 20, 1912, at Bay City Hospital in Tillamook before the sinking of the Titanic and the opening of Fenway Park in Boston.

Pearl Lyon

Pearl only weighed 2.5 pounds, so family members put her in a shoebox along with a warm brick to keep her alive. She was the oldest of three sisters, which included Bernice Jensen and Ruby Bigoni. Jensen walked in May 2012.

Pearl’s grandfather, Andrew Zuercher, moved to Tillamook from Bern, Switzerland, when he was a young man and purchased a registered goat. Pearl attributed her longevity to drinking rich goat milk.

In addition to goats, Pearl’s grandfather grew flowers in two greenhouses in Tillamook and her Dayton home continued that family tradition, surrounded by irises, tulips and daffodils.

Pearl’s parents were James Hugh Langley and Emma Zuercher. She married Harley Lyon, a farmer and railroad worker from Lafayette, in 1932. She worked for 19 years as a nurse at the Oakwood Glenn Nursing Home in McMinnville, which was better known among many there as “Pearl’s Boarding House.”

Harley and Pearl lived in many communities, including McMinnville, Lafayette, Dayton and Hillsboro. Pearl eventually settled in Dayton on Ash Road, where she lived for the past 46 years.

In 2012 at the time of her 100th birthday, Pearl had 37 grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. Her birthday was celebrated every February with a party at the Elders Activity Center.

She is survived by her son, Harold Lyon, of Dayton.

With Pearl’s passing, Tribal Elder Opal Davidson of Grand Ronde becomes the Tribe’s eldest Elder at 102 years of age. She is followed by 99-year-old Dorothy Greene, 98-year-old Ruby Bigoni (Pearl’s sister), and 93-year-old Carmilla Faggani and Kathryn Harrison.

Macy & Sons in McMinnville is caring for the family. A funeral service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 9, in the Tribal gym with interment to follow at Evergreen Cemetery in McMinnville. A memorial meal will be held at a later date at the Elders Activity Center in Grand Ronde.

A full Walking On notice will appear in the next issue of Smoke Signals.