Lyle to dedicate veterans memorial

Published 8:00 am Sunday, November 11, 2012

The memorial, which is next to the Post Office, honors three fallen soldiers from Lyle and all soldiers that serve in the military. Eric Johnson/

Sunday will see the culmination of several Lyle residents’ efforts to commemorate neighbors who gave their lives serving their country.

A veteran’s memorial built during the summer will receive its official dedication at a 12:30 p.m. ceremony Sunday, on Veteran’s Day. The memorial will recognize three Lyle men who died while serving in the military, while also paying homage to the other veterans who have served.

Lonnie DeLaney and his wife Linda worked with their friend Marlin Anderson, who now lives in Austin but grew up in Lyle, to come up with the idea for the memorial. The Lyle City Council kept the momentum going.

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“We just jumped on it and said, ‘Absolutely. We would be more than happy to have that pursued,’” said Council Member Gary Harrison.

Lonnie and Linda DeLaney stand in front of the Veteran’s Memorial in Lyle Friday afternoon. The couple were part of a larger effort to create the Memorial. Eric Johnson/

There was an empty lot next to the post office that worked as a location, Harrison said. The space would benefit from the work, considering it was “a bit of an eye sore.”

Lonnie said Harrison, a Vietnam veteran, proved instrumental in making the memorial happen.

“He was a catalyst as far as the city goes in getting this going,” he said.

The three men highlighted by the memorial each attended Lyle High School, though they served different wars.

Their names have been hand-painted on a large boulder at the site.

Marion Lee “Bud” Bell graduated from high school in 1935 and went on to fight in World War II . He was a turret gunner who was shot down over Holland.

Robert Stanley “Bobby” Block went to fight in the Korean War before he graduated from high school. After he was captured, he was forced to march from one Korean city to another.

When he lost the ability to walk, his fellow soldiers helped carry him along. He was later shot by his captors.

Roy Francis Maas fought in the Vietnam War and was killed in April 1969. He had graduated from high school three years prior.

In building the memorial, Lonnie and his wife Linda focused on landscaping efforts while Harrison purchased poles and flags and saw to maintenance. Recently, they also added a bench so people could dwell at the site longer.

Lonnie, who graduated from Lyle High School with Maas in 1966 but moved to Austin around the time he married Linda, said the memorial was an opportunity to revisit his old community.

“It was a joy to work on it and see a lot of people we used to see,” he said.

The dedication ceremony will be an opportunity to remember those who gave their lives.

“We got a little bio of all three of them that were killed,” Lonnie said.

Many family members will come in front out of town to be present, he added. All Maas’ brothers and sisters are planning to come, along with Bell’s brother’s family and four members of Block’s family.

“Some of the family members haven’t been together for a very long time,” Harrison said.

The American Legion in Lyle, which is the backup location in the event of bad weather, will hold a pancakes and sausage breakfast at 8 a.m. with a free-will donation to support the memorial.

Going forward, Harrison said he hopes to use the money to keep up the memorial’s appearance.

“The money that we raise will go toward the expenses that we put into the memorial itself,” Harrison said. “We think it’s looking very, very gorgeous right now.”