Vail Daily column: Lyall D. Ryden, 1931-2017
It is with heavy hearts that we say farewell to one of the most passionate men that many of us had the pleasure and honor to know. Lyall DeWayne Ryden, 85, of Denver passed away on Jan. 21, 2017.
Lyall was born on Aug. 10, 1931, in Platteville, Colorado, to Angie (Pearson) and David Ryden. He was the youngest of six and a third generation Coloradoan. He loved his childhood. He played basketball and baseball in high school. He graduated from Gilcrest High in 1950. He served in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War (1951 to 1955). He served in San Francisco; Norfolk, Virginia; Charleston, South Carolina; and on a destroyer in the Mediterranean.
After the Navy, Lyall went to California. He contracted polio in 1955 which nearly killed him. His mother and sister cared for him using non-traditional methods to ensure his survival. He lost his boisterous voice and muscle-man physique but didn’t give up. Lyall returned to Greeley and opened his first health club (Greeley Athletic Club). He rebuilt his body after polio.
Lyall graduated with degrees in business, economics and political science from Colorado State College (now UNC). He then met the love of his life and best friend, Patricia Jean TeMaat. When they met, Lyall was driving a 1957 Corvette and introduced her to martinis and jazz music. They were married on Dec. 30, 1961.
They had three daughters; Romie Marie, Ramona Mariette and Ronna Monic. Lyall was a man ahead of his generation in how he cared for and provided an unparalleled, unconditional love. He showed up for every event and was their greatest fan. His daughters were competitive swimmers and he would run alongside the pool for every length that they swam cheering them onward. Lyall defined what it meant to be an involved father.
Lyall was a serial entrepreneur. He sold hearing aids and invented a battery charger. He invented an exercise machine. Lyall and Patricia owned 15 health clubs throughout Colorado and New Mexico for 30-plus years; Lyall D. Ryden’s Feel Super health food products; restaurants (Greeley and Vail); insurance co-op for health clubs tanning salons, and toning salons (nationwide); transportation companies for 20-plus years (Blackhawk, Central City and Denver).
He said that he had never failed at anything in his life; however, he had discovered 100,000 ways that things didn’t work and kept moving forward.
Lyall loved the Denver Broncos (season ticket holders for 50-plus years). They loved hosting family and friends at their Vail Racquet Club condos (1970-90s). He was a member of Sertoma (Service to Mankind) and IFBB. He published two books, “Senior Health 101, Move More, Eat Less” (2013) and “Book of Quotes by the Famous & Not So Famous Including Health Hints” (2016).
Lyall and Patricia traveled extensively, visiting the Great Wall of China and the Fjord in the Baltic Sea in the same year. Passed through the Panama Canal and swam around the tip of South America with the penguins of Patagonia. Danced the tango with gauchos in Argentina. Laughed under the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Posed at the Acropolis in Greece and prayed at the Vatican in Italy. Stood in the crown of Lady Liberty during the bicentennial. No matter where they traveled he couldn’t wait to come home to Colorado in the great U.S.A.
Lyall is survived by his soulmate and wife, Patricia; daughters and son-in-laws, Romie Ryden and Travis Bowyer (Lakewood), Ramona Ryden and Ron Siebert (Avon), Ronna and David Dockstater (Fort Collins); six grandchildren, Jocelyn and Zachary Bowyer, Trevi and Axel Siebert, Mazie and Sawyer Dockstater; a great grandchild, Makaio Lyall Bowyer; and his extended family of nieces nephews, and friends — too numerous to mention but no less important.
He is preceded in death by his father, his mother, his sisters (Armada, Alzora and Betty) and his brothers (Oliver and Jack).
Lyall was fun, loving, caring, generous and truly beyond compare. He lived every day of his life. Please honor kindness to others and taking care of yourself in his memory.
A celebration of Lyall’s life is Tuesday at 11 a.m. at Newcomer Funeral Home, 901 South Sheridan Blvd, Lakewood. Interment will follow at Fort Logan National Cemetery.