Mitchell Lyle, past municipal leader, dies at 92

Served city as police commissioner

Posted 9/6/18

David Mitchell Lyle, former police commissioner for the city of Cleveland and a member of the Cleveland City Council for 15 years, died Wednesday.He had been a resident at Life Care Center of …

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Mitchell Lyle, past municipal leader, dies at 92

Served city as police commissioner


David Mitchell Lyle, former police commissioner for the city of Cleveland and a member of the Cleveland City Council for 15 years, died Wednesday.

He had been a resident at Life Care Center of Cleveland for several years.

His family will receive friends from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday at Fike-Randolph and Son Funeral Home, followed by the funeral at 3 p.m. Burial will be in Hilcrest Memorial Gardens.

Lyle served as police commissioner before the change in the city's form of government.

On the City Council, he served as vice mayor alongside a longtime friend, Mayor Tom Rowland. The two were also colleagues on the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities, until Lyle stepped down.

Lyle, 92, was preceded in death by his wife of 71 years, Sarah Elizabeth (Betty) Lyle, who was a widely known teacher in the local school systems.

"Mitchell Lyle will be remembered for his love of this community, and especially for our first responders," Rowland said. "His years of public service span the years he was our police commissioner, and beyond."

"He was a City Council member and vice mayor I enjoyed working with, but most of all I loved his quick wit and sense of humor," added the city's longest-serving mayor.

"We served on many organizations together, including Cleveland 100, Cleveland Police Advisory Board, Cleveland Utilities, and more," continued Rowland. "I couldn't have asked for a better friend. Sandra and I offer our sympathy to the family, and to his extended family."

Brenda Lawson, president of Cleveland 100, noted, "Mitchell Lyle was present when Cleveland 100 was first announced in 1996. It was his year of retirement from public service, and he became our very first Honorary Life Member."

Lawson added, "We will pay tribute to him in a few days, when we gather for our annual meeting and awards dinner. Mitchell was always there until health prevented (his participation) the past two years. He was a faithful supporter, and always wanted to be a part of anything that honored our police, fire, and other first responders. He will be missed."

Evie West, information officer for the Cleveland Police Department, commented on Lyle's death this morning.

"It's a big loss for our entire department, Police Chief Mark Gibson and our captains," she said. "We had visited him earlier when he became ill."

Lyle was first elected to the Cleveland City Commission in 1981 as the commissioner of Police, Lights and Prisons,  and when city government changed, he went on to serve on the Cleveland City Council as the representative of the 5th District, and vice mayor. He retired from elected office in 1996.

Lyle was proud of the fact he once served as a volunteer fireman.

He also served on the board of trustees of the former Bradley Memorial Hospital, vice chairman of the Cleveland Board of Public Utilities, was a member of the Bradley County Old Timers Hall of Fame, and a member of the Bradley County Republican Party.

He held memberships in a number of other organizations, including the Veterans of Foreign Wars, American Legion, and the Masonic Lodge No. 134 in Cleveland. He was a member of the Fraternal Order of Police, Scenic Lodge No. 8; and coveted his honorary life membership in Cleveland 100. 

Lyle was a U.S. Navy veteran, joining at the age of 17 in 1944. His military ship was involved in combat and support missions in the Pacific Theater, including the battle to retake the island of Luzon in the Philippines, and the major battles of Iwo Jima and Okinawa.

Lyle received the World War II Victory Medal at the conclusion of his service, as well as the Defense Service Medal, Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal with three battle stars, European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal, Navy Unit Commendation Medal, Philippines Liberation Ribbon with one battle star, and the Philippines Presidential Unit Citation.

Lyle was honorably discharged from the U.S. Navy as a Radioman Third Class on Jan. 9, 1046. He was then employed by Southern Railway for more than 40 years, until his retirement in 1988.

Lyle was preceded in death by his wife, Sarah Elizabeth "Betty" (Ramsey) Lyle; parents, Roy A. and Beulah (Hayes) Lyle; and two infant siblings.

He is survived by his sons, Steven A. "Tony" Lyle, of Hilliard, Ohio, and James David Lyle (Kathy), of Centreville, Va.

Lyle and Betty were married at First Baptist Church in Cleveland, where they were members since 1946. Both were active in the church, where Lyle was a deacon, sang in the choir, and held various positions in the Sunday school and training departments.



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