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James J. Lyons

James J. Lyons Notice
Jay Lyons, beloved school teacher at East Side Middle School in New York City, died on Sunday, February 2, at his home in Manhattan. His partner and husband of 20 years, Darius Nichols, a veteran Broadway performer and current member of the cast of "The Book of Mormon" was with him. The cause of death was cancer, and Jay was 63.

Born and raised in Baltimore, Jay attended Towson High School and then went on to NYU.. Jay later went on to receive his Master's Degree in Education at Hunter College, also in New York, completing his course of study in 2002.

During his 45 years in the city, Jay relished all that New York had to offer and with a special love for the arts, especially music and theater. After graduating from NYU, Jay began to build his professional career with time spent at multiple high-profile players in the theatrical production, art and retail industries – but he ultimately found his true calling in teaching.

Beginning in 1994, Jay dedicated himself to becoming the finest educator he was capable of being, developing his students as writers, as thinkers and as people. Jay taught eighth-grade students for six years and seventh-grade students for 20 years, and along the way he won the 2006 Chalkboard Teaching Award for Excellence for New York City. Jay's great gifts allowed him to touch the lives of thousands of students, parents, teachers and administrators during the past 26 years: his dedication, humanity and humor will be remembered by the entire East Side Middle School community and beyond.

Jay is the beloved son of and survived by his mother, Anne P. Blum; Anne's husband, Owen Blum, is deceased. Jay's father, James F. Lyons, Jr., is also deceased. Jay is survived by loving brother Dan Lyons and his wife, Lisa; niece and goddaughter, Joanne Desmond, (Eugene) and two grand-nieces, Ella and Madeline, and a grand-nephew, Oliver; two nephews, Jimmy (Jamie Deveney) Lyons and Tucker Lyons; and two aunts, Helen Jones and Ellen Heemann, and her husband Warren Heemann. Jay is also survived by a large number of cousins and friends who loved him dearly.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Jay's memory to the Ali Forney Center in New York, www.aliforneycenter.org
Published in Baltimore Sun from Feb. 11 to Feb. 12, 2020
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