Obituary of Sallie Lyons
Early in the morning on Family Day, February 15, 2021, in her home in Toronto, Sallie Lyons passed away peacefully in her sleep. She is survived by her husband, Jay Fisher, her son, Nate Lyons-Fisher (Hallie Church), and her daughter, Darwin Lyons-Fisher.
Born in Saskatoon on January 7, 1950 to William (Bill) Anthony and Mary Lou Lyons (Rudd), Sallie spent her childhood living in various cities throughout the Prairies. Still a teenager, she moved to Montreal to study at the Canadian College of Dance. She went on to earn a BA with Honours in Dance from York University. She danced and choreographed in the pioneering companies of Judy Jarvis Dance and Theatre Co. and T.I.D.E. (Toronto Independent Dance Enterprise) and choreographed numerous seminal works by composer R. Murray Schaffer.
During this time, she met and became close with a mime named Jay Fisher. They were married on Labour Day, September 2, 1985 in the backyard of their new house among friends and family. Their son Nate was born on November 9, 1985 and their daughter Darwin on January 29, 1988.
Throughout her life as the dedicated matriarch of her young and growing family, Sallie would continue her work in dance and theatre as a teacher at University of Toronto, University College Drama Program and as a guest teacher at York University’s Theatre Program, Centre for Indigenous Theatre, Equity Showcase and Player’s Academy. She was, by all accounts, held as a figure who provided direction, support and a sense of artistic authenticity in the careers of young dancers and actors.
As a vehicle by which to share her meditative spirit and translate it to the physical world, she founded the Lyonfish Yoga Studio and operated it from her family home in Toronto.
A Patron of the Arts and Advocate of the Environment, she was a board member of Moonhorse Dance Theatre and a volunteer at the David Suzuki Foundation.
She loved animals: dogs, cats, fish, birds, foxes, rabbits and skunks, but donkeys most.
She recycled before it was cool, or even municipally supported.
In the summer of 2006, she and Jay purchased a small, simple cottage in the protected environment of Harcourt Park where she was able to pursue and explore in earnest her love of life and nature and the inherent rhythms and patterns therein.
She loved to travel. In the spring of 2018, after being diagnosed with Stage 3C Ovarian Cancer, she chose to postpone treatment in favour of trips to locations she had always dreamed of visiting; two with Jay to Ireland and the Galapagos’ Archipelago and one with her immediate family to Oaxaca, Mexico.
When she underwent treatment, she fought vigorously to preserve her life, and to prepare herself and her loved ones for death. For nearly three years she was able to continue with her chosen patterns of life with the help of various medical and natural procedures and practices. Through it all she continued to teach Yoga, guest teach at The York University Master Program for Theatre. In addition, having lost her mother to dementia, she continued participating in experimental drug trials furthering research in its medical treatment.
She died as she lived, in harmony with the world around her and left the pieces of her financial, physical and spiritual life in such immaculate order that all her loved ones needed do was follow the paths she left to fulfill her wishes and grow in her wake. It seemed as her body got weaker her soul got stronger.
As she was throughout her life as a dancer, a teacher, a daughter, a wife and a mother, so to in approaching death did she display diligence, lightness, and warmth; always with an innate insight for the natural connectedness of people and living things.
Spiritually, she was both curious and intuitive with a searching nature and an ability to perceive and process her surrounding world in a way that was instructive and truly unique.
All of us being inevitably the same in the “what,” what is left and of most consequence is the “how.” As naturally as gravity, as lightly as air and as smooth as water, Sallie Lyons passed through our world with grace, dignity and such love for its’ inherent beauty. She touched so many lives and will be sorely missed.
Ceremonial burial will be at St. James' Cemetery on Friday February 19, 2021 at 2pm.
Due to COVID 19 restrictions, it will be closed to visitors.
Sallie's Burial Ceremony was recorded and is now availble below for viewing via the play button below. Please ensure your volume is on high.
In place of flowers, we welcome you to make a donation in Sallie’s name to one of the following charity organizations by clicking the Donations tabs on her home page:
David Suzuki Foundation
Center for Indigenous Environmental Resources
Please share your memories, photos and sentiments of Sallie's life here at her memorial web page.
Uniquely entrusted to eco Cremation & Burial Services Inc.
Life Celebrations. Done Differently.