Robert "Bobby" Lyles, Jr.

Lyles generous with time and treasure

Lyles generous with time and treasure

May 14, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

(Editor's note: The Herald-Mail's annual "Making a Difference" section, spotlighting people who better the lives of others in the Tri-State area, will appear in Sunday's newspaper. Photos and profiles will also appear on the Making a Difference page on

Emma Lyles remembers helping to form a local breast cancer awareness organization 19 years ago and how her husband, G. Robert "Bobby" Lyles Jr., was right there with her.

At that time, not too many men were involved in the cause, she said.

But her husband, a local real estate developer, is known for donating much of his time and money in a low-profile way, and it was no different for Breast Cancer Awareness-Cumberland Valley.

How much did Lyles donate to them?

"Oh no," he says decisively, indicating he is not about to reveal the amount of money.

Not boasting about his accomplishments is one of Lyles' traits, his wife said.


"Whatever they needed, they got it. That's the long and short of it," said Lyles, of Hagerstown.

It was just one example of his generous life in Washington County.

Lyles, 81, helped coach and manage Little League Baseball teams in the county and supported tennis programs. He and his wife were involved in parent-teacher organizations and did whatever they could for local schools.

Lyles has been a longtime member of the Hagerstown Lions Club and once received a humanitarian award from the club because of his help in the community.

"I was very happy that I had the opportunity to do it," Lyles said of his generosity. "A lot of people didn't have things. I came from a place where I didn't have much where I was growing up. So I shared,"

Lyles was born in Washington, D.C., and was a star quarterback at Eastern High School in the northeastern part of the city from 1943-46. He received a football scholarship to Georgetown University and also was a boxer.

Lyles came to Hagerstown in about 1954, he said, after his father bought the Supreme Concrete block plant on Dual Highway. He went to work for his father and stayed there until his father was killed in an accident at the plant in 1965.

Lyles' father bought a piece of equipment that would enable workers to unload block automatically, Lyles said. A crane being used to install the piece of equipment touched power lines and because Lyles' father was holding the piece of equipment, he was electrocuted, Lyles said.

"I jumped on him (but) couldn't do anything about it," said Lyles, who was overcome with emotion as he described the accident.

Lyles said he sold the plant a couple of years after the accident and went into the development business, buying land and building apartments in Washington County. He owns a couple of farms near Dual Highway and Interstate 70, where he hopes to begin residential development.

The Lyleses have four children -- David, Karen, Robert and Susan -- and seven grandchildren in a family that is relatively close, so Lyles can see them frequently.

"It was a good life, and God has been good to me," he said.

Q&A with G. Robert "Bobby" Lyles Jr.

Resides in: Hagerstown

Occupation: Real estate developer

Q: What is your proudest moment?
A: The birth of each of my four children.

Q: Who do you most admire, and why?
A: My father. "He was the most humble, caring, giving and intellectual person I have ever known."

Q: What is the best piece of advice you have received, and who gave it to you?
A: My mother advised me to stay in Hagerstown and help my father. In doing so, I've met so many wonderful people who have become such good friends and have influenced my life.

Q: What is the next goal you would like to achieve?
A: To awake every day and share special moments with my family and friends.

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