Elaine Lyons, a teacher and administrator for 40 years at the Lavelle School for the Blind in the Bronx, died of cancer on Oct. 15 at Calvary Hospital there. She was 75.
Born on Jan. 13, 1936, to Arthur Del Negro and the former Laura Fiorentino, Mrs. Lyons was a parishioner of St. Dominic’s Church in the Van Nest section of the Bronx until her marriage to John Lyons in 1963. They moved to Riverdale, also in the Bronx.
Mrs. Lyons received both a bachelor’s degree in education and a master’s in special education from Hunter College. In 1957, she began teaching at the Lavelle School. She attended Lehman College for additional coursework in teaching foreign languages in the early ’70s and other graduate programs, aimed at assessing and helping visually impaired students, later on.
She also taught at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., helping foreign-born seminarians to learn English, and enjoyed singing in the seminary’s choir.
Mrs. Lyons divided her time between Riverdale and Montauk, where she had a very active role at St. Therese of Lisieux Catholic Church. Her family said that in Montauk she renewed a passion for painting and writing.
“Elaine’s selflessness and faith was reflected in every relationship,” her family said. “Whether it was family, friends, clergy, nuns, seminarians, blind students, stray animals or total strangers, Elaine was always there to help and guide.”
She was a mentor and a mother figure to a young woman from the Philippines who worked at the LaVelle School, said the family. Not only did she attend the young woman’s wedding in the island nation, she walked her down the aisle.
Mrs. Lyons is survived by a sister, Arlene Tobia of Palm Coast, Fla., and a brother, Arthur Del Negro Jr. of Pound Ridge, N.Y.
Funeral services took place last Thursday at St. Margaret of Cortona Church in Riverdale. Burial followed at the Gate of Heaven Cemetery in Valhalla, N.Y.