Celebrating the Life, Love, and Legacy

Of Dr. Bonita Lyons

Sunrise: June 29, 1946 – Sunset: May 8, 2017

Bonita Lyons

Dr. Bonita Lyons (affectionately known as "B", Bonita or Doc) entered into eternal rest on May 8, 2017, surrounded by her family. Bonita's life was a model of encouragement and perseverance, both in her professional life and in her life of faith. Bonita was born in New Albany, MS, on June 29, 1946. Preceding her in death were her parents V. T. and Mary Ruth Aldridge Lyons. She is survived by her sister ZonaDale Taylor (Charles) of Collierville, TN, numerous cousins and an extensive number of U of M "children and family".

She was a member of The Church of the Holy Communion, and a faithful member of the Thursday morning Bible study class until her health declined. In life, she followed the example of Jesus' compassion as she purposefully journeyed with students, friends and family through the various chances and changes of this life. Bonita will be deeply missed, yet we celebrate the peace and fullness of life she now enjoys in God's nearer presence.

A graduate of the University of Mississippi, Bonita taught math at Longview Middle school and at Wooddale High school for a time. She began working as a counselor for Shelby State Community College in Memphis in 1972. While still working at SSCC, she enrolled at the University of Memphis in 1977, earning her Doctor of Education in Personnel Services. Dr. Lyons became the Director, Essential Skills Program for Shelby State from 1979-1981, and the Telecourse Director/Assistant Director, Continuing Education until 1985. That same year, she became a member of the University of Memphis faculty and staff, inspiring countless adult students and numerous student athletes to persevere and complete their degrees at the University.

Dr. Lyons was named the Director of Academic Status and Retention Services in 1992 and held that post until her retirement from the University in August of 2008. She received the Pyramid Award for Student Services in 2001 and the Distinguished Professional Advising Award in March of 2003. She was the 2009 award winner for the Ralph Hatley Silver M Award. She served as a board member for the Mid-South Association for Training and Development and the Tennessee Board of Regents Ad Hoc Committee on developmental education.

Continuing her lifelong dedication of caring for others and her interest in furthering education, in death, she donated her body to Genesis/MERI for scientific medical research. CARES, The Center for Academic Retention and Enrichment Services at the University of Memphis, is an outgrowth of her dedication to caring and helping students complete their degrees at the University. Just as she shepherded so many through this life, we invite you to continue her legacy of service and faith by contributing to The Dr. Bonita Lyons CARES Student Fund, which is dedicated to helping CARES students in need. Your donation will help further her commitment to education. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to The Dr. Bonita Lyons CARES Student Fund. To contribute and further her cause, click here, for the Dr. Bonita Lyons CARES Student Emergency Scholarship Fund or send an email to cares@memphis.edu with the subject line "Bonita Lyons CARES Memorial Fund."

"Support us, Lord, all the day long, until the shadows lengthen, and the evening comes, the busy world is hushed, the fever of life is over, and our work done; then Lord, in your mercy, give us safe lodging, a holy rest and peace at the last. Amen" ~A New Zealand Prayer Book

Memorial Service to be held
Tuesday, May 23, 2017
5:00 p.m.

The Penny Hardaway Hall of Fame
The University of Memphis
Memphis, Tennessee
If you are unable to come in person:
Follow this link to attend the Memorial Service via the video stream