Norman X. Lyon was born on April 24, 1907 at Leonidas, a small town in St. Joseph County, Michigan. He graduated from Albion College in 1929, the same year that he began his first newspaper job with the Greenville [Michigan] Daily News. Norm left the newspaper in 1930, hoping to attend law school. However, he ended up moving to Mount Pleasant, Michigan, to help with the newspaper there.
In the early 1930s, Norm reported for the Mount Pleasant Daily Times News. He also worked for two years with the Saginaw News as a bureau reporter. At that time, the oil exploration and production business helped insulate part of Mount Pleasant from the economic woes of the Great Depression. Norm distinguished himself reporting on the oil business. A good example of his reporting style was an article on the July 18, 1931 disastrous explosion of the W. L. McClanahan Struble well, east of Mount Pleasant. The disaster was the worst oil field disaster in the state.
In 1936, Norm joined the Michigan Oil and Gas News (MOGN), at the time of the formation of Petroleum Publishers, Inc. He served as the publication’s Editor, except for brief intermissions, until 1947, when he returned to the Mount Pleasant Daily Times News. For a short time in 1937, Norm left MOGN to manage Trojan Trucks, an oil field trucking firm in Mount Pleasant, but he quickly returned to oil fields reporting.
Norm also served for two years as the Secretary of the Mount Pleasant Chamber of Commerce in 1954. He then returned to the Mount Pleasant Daily Times News. In 1957 Norm returned to MOGN as Editor, a post he held until 1972.
In late 1972, Petroleum Publishers sold MOGN to the Michigan Oil and Gas Association. Norm then retired from MOGN editorship and retired to Florida.
Norm returned to Michigan in April 1973 to help the new MOGN writers. Seven months later he returned to Florida. Until 1985, Norm typed and sent a weekly column entitled “Sample Bag” to MOGN from Florida.
Norm was a member of the Pere Marquette Club. He was a charter member of the Mount Pleasant Kiwanis Club in 1933, and served as president of the club in 1937. Norm served for twelve years on the Mount Pleasant City Commission. He also served as mayor of Mount Pleasant, 1950-1951. Additionally, Norm served as Vice President of the Michigan Municipal League, served on the Central Michigan Community Hospital Board and the Isabella County Board of Supervisors, and was a Director of the Safety Council. For many years, Norm also chaired the Michigan Oil and Gas Association Public Relations Committee.
On September 29, 1991 Norm died at Central Michigan Community Hospital in Mount Pleasant from complications with long standing health problems and a stroke. He was buried in Memorial Gardens cemetery in Mount Pleasant.
Norm’s wife, Phyllis, was born on December 20, 1908 in Mount Pleasant, the daughter of Erwin and Ella (Hunter) Morrison. She married Norm on December 25, 1930. Together Norm and Phyllis had two children: JoAnn Camp and Richard (“Dick”). The family lived at 1101 South Franklin Street in Mount Pleasant while the children were young. The house number appears in many of the negatives showing the family on or near the front porch.
Phyllis was a member of the First United Methodist Church and the Mount Pleasant Women’s Club. She taught fourth grade at Pullen Elementary School and student teachers for Central Michigan University.
On February 2, 1989, Phyllis died at Helen Ellis Hospital in Tarpon Springs, Florida. She was buried in Memorial Gardens cemetery in Mount Pleasant. Phyllis was survived by her husband, children, seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. (This information is from their obituaries and biographical information in the collection.)