"My work is my hobby," said Lyons.
For the last nearly 16 years, Lyons' work has been as owner and operator of Greenleaf BP on Lexington Road in Danville.
"This job is what keeps me going, and I plan to keep going at it until I physically can't any more," he said. "I have no plans to retire. Not even thinking about it and never will."
Lyons, 67, dropped out of school after the eighth grade.
"I wasn't interested in getting a high school diploma," he said. "I was ready to go to work."
Lyons went to work full-time on his father's farm and at 17 got married.
"Ever since I was a kid with a cap pistol playing cowboys and Indians I had wanted to head west," he said. "I don't know that I wanted to be a cowboy, but I kinda wanted to hang out with them."
Loaded up like Beverly Hillbillies
Lyons also saw Texas as a huge state with a lot more job opportunities. It was a cinch that the "hanging out with cowboys" wasn't going to be enough to lure his wife, Linda, into his plan. He convinced her to let him realize his dream of living and working among cowboys, adhere to Horace Greeley's advice for young men to head west and, oh yes, find a good job.
"We loaded up like the Beverly Hillbillies and moved to the panhandle of Texas," he said with a laugh, adding that he, his wife and baby were accompanied by another family from Mercer County.
Lyons worked in the wheat fields and also drove a truck. While he made good money and enjoyed the feeling of big spaces and freedom he got in Texas, he and his wife grew a little homesick. After a couple of years in the wild West, they head back home to Mercer County.
He had no trouble finding jobs back home. He farmed, did blacktop work and got a job at a softdrink bottling company.
He then landed a job that one day would become his career. He went to work for Maurice Coyle's service station on Lexington Road in Danville.
"I liked working at a filling station, but it wasn't long before I was back on the road driving a truck like I was doing in Texas," he said.
After 17 years as a truck driver, Lyons decided it was time to get off the road and settle into a job that would keep him closer to home and his wife and three children, Debbie, Sue and Ronnie.
He also physically couldn't continue as a truck driver; he had fallen and injured his neck and back, causing doctors to recommend he give up driving trucks for a living.
Bought station in 1991
He bought Coyle's station in 1991 and has owned and operated it ever since.
Lyons has developed Greenleaf BP into a multi-faceted service station. It sells gasoline, has two full-time mechanics and a wrecker service, and rents U-Haul vans and trucks.
It is only one of two gasoline dealerships in Danville that offer full service and is the only place in town that offers both full and self service.
"I keep our full-service pumps because there are loyal customers who don't like to pump their own gasoline and who like to have their oil, tires and windshield wiper fluids checked on a regular basis by professionals," he said.
Lyons is proud not only of the multiple services his station offers but also of his efforts to keep the station and property neat and clean.
"I don't want to be just a good service station. I want to be a good neighbor, too," he said.
He has developed and maintained a sizable group of loyal customers. "I'd estimate with have a customer base of at least 100 regular customers," he said.
"My customers realize they have to pay a little more for us to keep our full-service thing going, and they also know it's not my fault when the gas prices go up."
Lyons is on the job by 6 most mornings. "It may sound odd but every night I actually look forward to getting up early the next morning and going to work," he said. "I not only love the work I do, I love talking with my customers and working with my mechanics.
"If I didn't have this job - any job but especially this one - to come to every day, six days a week, I don't know what I'd do."