Mary Click Smith "Nicki" LYDA

LYDA, Mary Click Smith "Nicki"

Mary Click Smith Lyda ('Nicki') was born on July 1, 1919 in Kingsland, Texas to Oliver P. and Daisy Mae Smith. Her parents were tenant farmers and Nicki and her five siblings moved around quite a lot in Llano and Burnet counties during their childhood. Nicki earned her teacher's certificate shortly after graduating from high school and taught elementary school in rural classrooms beginning in 1939 at Mormon Mill, and later at Schwertner, Elroy, and Hornsby Dunlap.

Nicki married Don Morris Lyda, a childhood friend from Burnet County, on May 1, 1941 in Edna, TX. Nicki and Don served as a surrogate family for both Nicki's and Don's orphaned siblings while both were working their way through the University of Texas at Austin in the early 1940's. Don enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1943 and Nicki and newborn Peggy followed him during his flight training over the next two years from Ada, OK, to Stamford, TX, to Greenville, TX, to Houston to Austin, to Smyrna, TN.

After the War, Nicki and Don settled into life in Austin, with Don focused on his new CPA practice with Hunter Schieffer while he and Nicki partnered on a series of house purchases and hands-on renovations (303 45th Street, Patterson Ave., Nasco Dr., and last, Rabbit Hill Farm on Old Duval Road). At the same time, the family was growing; Don Morris Jr. arrived in 1949 and Clark in 1961. They also began acquiring and operating small farms and ranches around Austin, beginning in New Sweden and later at Jollyville, Leander, and Florence. Nicki was very actively involved in the farm and ranch operations - no one ever cared more for a sick or distressed animal than she did; she was devoted to her work on the ranches - from shredding, cutting brush, and mending fence to renovating buildings to feeding hay, pulling calves and working cattle.

Nicki also found time to support Don's professional efforts in Austin, both as a member and officer of the CPA Wives' Club and the Austin Women's Club and as his number-one supporter during his tenure as Chair of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy. Nicki also served as a board member of the Perry School after Clark's graduation.

Nicki was as passionate about helping people as she was about being kind to animals-her life story is chock full of small anecdotes from relatives and friends and strangers who were extended an act of kindness by Nicki. For her children Nicki provided unconditional love and support and a sense of limitless possibility.

The love and primary light of her life passed away March 15, 1992, and shortly after Nicki began showing signs of the impossibly cruel disease that would ultimately take her life. The quality of Nicki's life over the last eight years has been immeasurably improved by her devoted caregivers Lucy Montalvo and Armando Flores and her daughter Peggy McKenzie.

Nicki is survived by her daughter Peggy Lyda McKenzie and her sons Don Morris Lyda, Jr and Clark Elliot Lyda, her daughter-in-law Fiona Spence Lyda, her son-in-law Jesse Allen Lyda, her grandson Christian James Lyda and his wife Kourtney and great-granddaughters Layne and Ryan, her granddaughter Marlo Lyda, and her sisters Peggy Loe Whalen and Elaine Hack.

Burial will be private at the Lyda Cemetery in Florence, Texas. A celebration of Nicki's life will be held at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 18 at the Commodore Perry Estate, 4100 Red River, Austin, Texas.

Memorial contributions may be made to the Don M. Lyda Endowed Presidential Scholarship at the University of Texas c/o TSCPA Educational Foundation, 1421 W. Mockingbird Lane, Dallas, TX 75247 or to the .

You may share a message or memory in the memorial guestbook at


Funeral Home

Ramsey Funeral Home - Georgetown
5600 WILLIAMS DR  Georgetown, TX 78633

Published in Austin American-Statesman from Dec. 18 to Dec. 19, 2013