Lyle Andrew McGeoch
1959 - 2019
Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street
Amherst, MA
Lyle Andrew McGeoch passed away suddenly on Saturday, October 5 in his home in Amherst. He was 60 years old. He was a good man who will be remembered above all for his indomitable kindness and generosity. He lived every day of his life the way he intended.

Lyle was born July 10, 1959 in Lower Merion, Pennsylvania, to Lyle Archibald and Florence (Parker) McGeoch. He grew up in Athens, Ohio. Lyle attended Princeton University and Carnegie Melon University, where he earned his Doctorate in Computer Science. It was there that he met the love of his life, Catherine Cole. The two were married on March 19, 1983 in Lafayette, Indiana and moved to Amherst in 1987. They raised two sons, Ian and Alex, both of whom were greatly influenced by his gentle, loving leadership and his integrity. From his example, they learned to be self-sufficient and always to do the right thing.

For thirty years Lyle and Cathy worked together at Amherst College, with offices right across the hall from one another. Lyle adored being a professor and found great fulfillment in helping and caring for every one of his students. He advised hundreds over the course of his career and was class dean to the class of 2017. He served on nearly every faculty committee at the College, and was the College parliamentarian for many years. At the time of his death he was the Brian E. Boyle '69 Professor of Computer Science and chair of the Computer Science department.

Lyle was always looking for ways to help others. He was an active member of Wesley United Methodist Church, where he served as treasurer and played in the handbell choir. He donated blood as often as he could. On multiple occasions, he lead youth groups in hurricane relief efforts in and around New Orleans.

In recent years, Lyle and Cathy split their time between living in Amherst and in Vancouver, Canada, where she works. He enjoyed exploring the city on his bicycle, attending hockey games, and watching curling matches.

More than anything, he enjoyed spending time with friends and family, from large holiday gatherings to unannounced Saturday morning visits from his grandson. He loved family weddings and playing cards with close friends. He was always welcoming no matter the time of day, and always made guests feel at home.

Lyle is preceded in death by his father Lyle Archibald. He is survived by his wife Cathy, his sons Ian and Alex and their wives Alicia and Jill, his grandson Rigel, his mother Florence, his brother Peter, his sister Betsy Nurre, and nine nieces and nephews. He will be missed by his many friends.

Funeral services will be Saturday October 12, 2019, 10:00 am at the Wesley United Methodist Church in Hadley. Burial will follow in Wildwood Cemetery, Amherst. Calling hours will be Friday from 5:00 - 8:00 pm at the Douglass Funeral Service, Amherst.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Way of Hampshire County, the United Methodist Committee on Relief, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County, or any organization that helps people.

Memorial register at
Published by Daily Hampshire Gazette on Oct. 8, 2019.
To plant trees in memory, please visit the Sympathy Store.
Calling hours
5:00p.m. - 8:00p.m.
Douglass Funeral Home
87 North Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA
Funeral service
Wesley United Methodist Church
Hadley, MA
Funeral services provided by:
Douglass Funeral Home
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7 Entries
Patricia Bisbee
October 11, 2019
Condolences to Lyle's family. My heart is broken to know that he has passed.

Lyle was one of the first people I met in Middle School when my family moved to Athens. He was always kind, considerate and genuine. He made me feel welcome from day one.

We are all fortunate to have known him.
Marylou Bumpas
October 10, 2019
To Lyle's family, please accept our sincere and heartfelt condolences at his passing. Lyle was kind, caring, and a true gentleman to all of us who knew him in high school! It is not surprising to learn that he built on that foundation to become such a wonderful man. He will be greatly missed. Our hearts go out to you all.

Carlotta Vaccaro,
on behalf of the Athens High School Class of 1977
Carlotta Vaccaro
October 10, 2019
I was struck by sadness when I heard the news that Professor Lyle McGeoch has died. During LAISS 2019, he has not only offered me and every other student with undivided attention and great care, but also built strong friendship with many of us. He was the ideal professor for that he could make his classes enjoyable, and he was willing to answer every question the students asked. His unexpected departure is a tremendous loss to those who have learned or would have learned from him.

I believe Professor McGeoch's is more than a good professor, as I have always considered him a close friend. His guidance offered me not only solutions to academic problems, but also the insight behind the solutions, and equally importantly, he gave me an unforgettable experience in academic discussion, which I find immensely valuable in my current college life. During the breaks between classes we would often discuss academics and some past experiences, share our thoughts on things as algorithms and traveling, and I find as much joy conversing with him as with my classmates, if not more.

May he rest in peace.

--former student of Professor McGeoch, participant of LAISS 2019
Jianxiang Cui
October 9, 2019
I am so sorry to hear of Lyle's passing. I was a frequent (panicked) end-of-term visitor to his office while he was dean. He always went well beyond the call of duty to help me. I can say confidently that I may not have made it through Amherst had he not moved mountains of college bureaucracy to secure extension after extension. And while the object of that generosity may have seemed like a dubious (and ungrateful) investment at the time, I am very grateful now and always.

-- A very grateful alum
Michael Bessey
October 9, 2019
Cathy, I'm soooo very sorry to hear about Lyle. My heartfelt sympathy and prayers for you and your family.
Patricia Pelletier
October 9, 2019
Kevin Conway
October 9, 2019
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