John Lyles, BSc, CVO, CBE

Members will be sorry to learn of the death of John Lyles, a former Lord Lieutenant and High Sheriff of West Yorkshire, and distinguished alumnus and member of the University Court.

Born in Dewsbury in 1929, the youngest of four children, he was educated at Giggleswick School. He attended the University from 1946, and was awarded a BSc in Textiles in 1950.

In his application for Textile Studies he stated that his intended career was ‘textiles manufacture,’ and it was an area in which he excelled, becoming chairman and managing director of the family firm, carpet yarn spinners S Lyles of Dewsbury. He was also a dedicated and tireless public servant, holding a range of offices and serving on many committees, including as Chair of the Yorkshire and Humberside Chambers of Commerce; Chair of Calderdale Community Foundation; Chair of the West Yorkshire Police Community Trust; a member and board member of the Yorkshire and Humberside CBI; a member of the Yorkshire Committee of the National Trust; and a longstanding member of the University Court (1996-2010) and Council (1988-1996). He was also Honorary Colonel of the 8th Battalion of the King’s Own Yorkshire Light Infantry and Vice-President of the Yorkshire and Humberside Territorial Army Volunteer Reserve.

John Lyles became a CBE in 1987. He was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Bradford in 1995, and his outstanding service to the county was recognised in 2004, on his retirement as Lord Lieutenant, when he was made a Commander of the Victorian Order by the Queen.

A caring and unassuming man, despite his many achievements, John Lyle will be remembered with great respect for his outstanding contribution to public life and to his beloved home county, and with real affection for his personal thoughtfulness and compassion.

He is survived by his wife, Yvonne, whom he married in 1953, two sons, two daughters, and seven grandchildren. A memorial service will be held on a date to be announced.

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