To the world, Mykle Lyons was an accomplished jazz musician, a student of the late Ellis Marsalis who played in venues like Carnegie Hall and the Kennedy Center and counted former Vice President Al Gore among his fans.
To residents of Reston, his long-time home, Lyons was also a neighbor, a regular sight at the now-closed Market Street Bar and Grill in Reston Town Center and at local schools where he sometimes volunteered to perform.
Now, in the wake of Lyons’s death in May, Lake Anne Plaza hopes to keep alive his legacy as a musician and valued community member by launching the first annual Mykle Lyons Food and Music Festival on Sept. 18.
“The cultural impact of Reston ripples far beyond its boundaries, and nowhere is this better exemplified than by the contributions of our own Mykle Lyons, an accomplished musician, an educator, a philosopher, and a generous and compassionate soul,” the Lake Anne & Washington Plaza Merchant Association said yesterday (Tuesday) in a news release announcing the festival’s musical lineup.
Organized by the association in conjunction with Roxplosion and Kalypso’s Sports Tavern, the free festival will take place at the plaza waterfront (1609 Washington Plaza) from 5 to 8 p.m. The Chris Timbers Band and Sam Gunderson & The Cactus Groove will perform.
Born in Ocean Springs, Mississippi, Lyons became immersed in jazz through trips with his father to nearby New Orleans. He and his family moved to Reston when he entered middle school, where he joined his first band, Amethyst, according to Kalypso’s owner Vicky Hadjikyriakou.
He later studied with Marsalis while attending Virginia Commonwealth University and formed the Mykle Lyons Quartet, which appeared as the featured act at the 1992 and 1996 Presidential Inaugural Galas at the National Gallery of Art.
Lyons released four professional recordings, including an album called “Heritage” that featured all original music and arrangements, but his primary passion was for live music.
An archived Washington Post feature on pianist Loston Harris II describes Lyons’s bass solo during a sold-out concert that they played at The Lyceum in Old Town Alexandria in the late 1990s, saying that “the instrument seems to be alive, bucking and rolling.”
Other collaborators included the Marsalis family, Don Braden, Lew Tabacken, Ralph Bowen, Vincent Herring, Wes Anderson, Eric Alexander, and Victor Goines.
“Through his travels and gigs, Lake Anne remained his home and the Plaza his neighborhood,” Hadjikyriakou said by email.
In addition to putting on weekly shows at the Market Street Bar and Grill until it closed, Lyons performed at a range of venues throughout Reston, from weddings to the United Christian Parish preschool. He even once coordinated a volunteer performance by Lady Gaga’s cellist at Buzz Aldrin Elementary School.
Lyons also left his mark in Reston by creating the Lake Anne Jazz and Blues Festival, which celebrated its 14th year of existence on Saturday (Sept. 4). His band, which expanded into a sextet, had performed at the annual festival in the past.
“Kalypso’s, Roxplosion, and Lake Anne & Washington Plaza Merchant Association all look forward to honoring Mykle’s contributions by providing an event to celebrate and share the gift of music with our community, just as he would have wanted- in his neighborhood,” Hadjikyriakou said.
(Updated 3:35 p.m.) Mark Sugden, a familiar face to customers and employees of the Target on Sunset Hills Road in Reston, has died, family and friends have told Reston Now.
Known for his ever-present smile and balloons, Sugden had been a constant sight at the back of the Target parking lot for the last six years. He usually sat on the curb and waved at passersbys, who sometimes stopped to hand Sugden money or groceries.
Sugden had been experiencing homelessness, and a GoFundMe had been set up to help with the costs of staying in a nearby hotel. He also suffered from bipolar disorder, depression, and several other physical limitations, as he told Reston Now back in May.
Despite these challenges, Sugden continued to have a positive attitude.
“He was just a really, down-to-earth, good person. He always treated everybody well,” his brother George Sugden told Reston Now. “[He was] one of those things that’s pretty rare these days — a good soul.”
A memorial and tribute was set up this morning (Thursday) in his honor in front of the Sunoco station on Sunset Hills Road. It’s expected to be there for at least the next few days for those who would like to pay their respects, friend David Ritter tells Reston Now.
There may also be a remembrance service at a later date, but the logistics are still being figured out, Ritter notes.
According to the original GoFundMe page, Sugden died on Aug. 27. The Fairfax County Police Department confirmed the death, though a cause is not immediately known. FCPD does not suspect foul play.
A new fundraiser has been launched to help with funeral costs. The goal is to raise $2,000.
Ritter met Sugden a few years ago and was immediately struck by Sugden’s positivity. He believed that attitude rubbed off on everyone Sugden met.
“It never ceases to amaze me how Mark affected people,” Ritter said.
Once, when it was snowing during the winter, Ritter went to check on Sugden and make sure he had everything he needed. When Ritter arrived, he found a line of cars already waiting to give supplies and food to Sugden.
In May, Reston Now joined Sugden for about an hour at his usual spot between the Target and Sunoco on Sunset Hills Road. Six people in cars stopped to say hello and help him out.
Each time, Sugden greeted them with a wave, a smile, and a thank you.
“Your smile makes me happy,” one woman told Sugden. After she drove away, Sugden said, “I love to see them smile back.”
Over the last several days, both Ritter and George have been hearing from the community about how much Sugden meant to them.
“[From] the stories and the people I’ve met in the last 24 hours, it’s obvious that he touched a lot of people without really going out of his way,” George said. “It was just the way he was.”
Mary Ann Flynn, a long-time Fairfax County Public School teacher and community leader, died last week at the age of 85.
Flynn was an educator at Hunters Woods, Dogwood, and Terraset elementary schools for more than two decades, primarily teaching first grade. She was among the first teachers at Dogwood and Terraset, when that school first opened in 1977, her family says.
“She used to say she loved teaching first grade because she could still do the math,” daughter Merri Flynn told Reston Now. “Really, it was because…it was the year she got to see such huge improvement because it was the year that most children learned to read. And she really loved being able to help them learn to read.”
She was beloved as a teacher. Her son Christopher attended Terraset while his mother taught there and has received notes with fond remembrances from former students all week.
“You can’t get away with a whole lot [at school] when your mom’s down the hall,” Christopher said. “A lot of people I went to school with remember her as a teacher.”
The family says “dozens of folks” have commented on a post they made on Facebook about Flynn, who was loved by family and pupils because of her compassion, generosity, thoughtfulness, and listening skills.
“I think people felt comfortable with her because she was quiet and an excellent listener,” Merri said. “She was always interested in what people were saying about their lives and she would remember details.”
She also loved sharing and seeing photos of loved ones.
“She was one of those rare people who really loved seeing pictures of other people’s family, especially babies and children,” Merri said with a laugh.
After spending time in San Francisco, D.C., and Norfolk, Flynn and her husband Tom, a Naval officer, settled in Reston in 1970. It became their home for the next several decades.
Even after Flynn retired as a public school teacher in 1992, the couple remained very active in the Reston community. The Flynns helped out at St. John Neumann Catholic Church, running its Angel Christmas and Birthday Club. Both of these programs worked through the local nonprofit Cornerstones to provide gifts to children.
The couple was honored by the Virginia General Assembly in 2003 for their community service efforts.
Flynn also assisted with weddings at the church, sometimes walking up and down the aisles.
“She wanted to make sure no one was chewing gum,” Merri Flynn said.
As a mother and grandmother, she was always present.
“She had a big smile whenever anyone she loved entered the room,” Thomas Flynn, Mary Ann’s grandson, said. “She just made you feel very special whenever you were talking to her. There was a kind of beam shining on you because everything was just about you.”
Flynn’s commitment to education went beyond her career. She helped to set up a library at Falcons Landing, a military retirement community in Potomac Falls that she and her husband moved into in 2014.
“She was a lifelong educator, but she did it in a really gentle way,” Merri said. “She never talked down to someone or made them feel less than.”
According to those who knew her, Flynn’s defining quality was her dedication to being an advocate for her family and students.
“She was your champion,” Merri said. “She always had your back.”
Mary Ann Flynn is survived by her husband Tom, three children, and two grandsons, Andrew and Thomas. Her death was preceded by that of her parents and a son, Thomas Edward Flynn IV.
The visitation and funeral mass will be held tomorrow (Aug. 31) at St. John Neumann Catholic Church at 11900 Lawyers Road, starting at 10 a.m.
The burial will take place at a later date at Arlington National Cemetery, where Flynn will join her son Thomas.
Virginia General Assembly Convenes for Special Session — “The General Assembly returns on Monday to the Capitol it left 17 months ago as the coronavirus first gripped Virginia…Legislators meeting in a scheduled two-week special session have just two tasks on their to-do list, both highly consequential: allocating $4.3 billion in federal coronavirus relief funds and appointing a slew of judges to the state’s second-highest court.” [The Washington Post]
Fairfax County Man Arrested for Participating in Capitol Breach — “A Fairfax County, Virginia, man was arrested on six charges Thursday after a high school acquaintance tipped off the FBI about his alleged participation in the Capitol riot on January 6…[Luke Wessley] Bender faces six counts, including a felony count of obstruction of Congress that carries a maximum sentence of up to 20 years in prison.” [WUSA9]
Reston Community Center Candidate Filing Now Open — “Help your community by becoming a candidate for RCC’s Board of Governors. Candidate filing for the 2021 RCC Preference Poll is now open. Please download the candidate handbook and candidacy statement from our website and return by August 15.” [RCC/Facebook]
Reston Community Remembers Local Humanitarian — Described as a “pioneer, humanitarian, and entrepreneur,” longtime Reston resident Burton “Burt” Emmanuel Lamkin died on June 24 at the age of 86. Though he went to California a few years ago to be closer to family, he and his wife Kathryne were among the first African Americans to live in Reston when they moved there in 1966, and he was heavily involved in the Rotary Club of Herndon. [Connection Newspapers]
Photos: Reston Association Hosts Annual Tennis Tournament — “The 2021 Reston Simon Cup tennis tournament was held from mid through late July. Men’s and women’s singles and doubles matches were played at the Lake Newport tennis courts.” [RA/Facebook]
The body of John Lewis will be laid to rest this week, but the legacy of his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement will live on. In his role as chairman of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, he was the youngest person to speak at the March on Washington in August 1963. While his words that day are not as well remembered as those of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. who spoke after him that day with his “I Have a Dream” speech, the message of John Lewis is as relevant today as it was then. He exhibited a style of frank speaking that day that became famous over the decades of his leadership in the Civil Rights Movement when he told the crowd:
“We are tired. We are tired of being beaten by policemen. We are tired of people being locked up in jail over and over again. And then you holler ‘be patient.’ How long can we be patient? We want our freedom, and we want it now!”
He must have had some sense of satisfaction when last month with District of Columbia Mayor Muriel E. Bowser he visited the Black Lives Matter Plaza near the White House and stood where the Black Lives Matter message was painted in the street. That day was in sharp contrast to the day in 1965 when he marched with others in the Civil Rights Movement across the bridge in Selma, Alabama, and suffered a skull fracture from being hit in the head with a police baton in what became known as “Bloody Sunday.”
John Lewis was the last of the great civil rights leaders of the 1960s. He lived long enough I believe to realize that his message was being more widely heard than ever before in this country. Should John Lewis be beginning his career today rather than ending it, I have no doubt he would be at the forefront of Black Lives Matter. While Lewis experienced the police batons, dogs and fire hoses, others today have felt the knee of white authority pressing on their necks or bullets hitting them in the back. The words “I cannot breathe” have come to be more than the last words of individuals whose lives were being snuffed out but are the words of generations living under a society of oppression because of the color of their skin. I cannot breathe means to many that they cannot live freely in an unjust and discriminatory society.
John Lewis never gave up through many challenges that are now being chronicled by other writers. In recent years I have appreciated his efforts to get the Congress to take action to end gun violence that affects communities of color disproportionally. What would John Lewis have us do? He offered this advice: “When you see something that is not right, not fair, not just: say something, do something. Get in trouble, good trouble, necessary trouble.” We can participate in making a more just society when we follow John Lewis in getting into necessary trouble!
School Buildings Closed — All Fairfax County Public School buildings are closed until further notice. Beginning today (Monday), grab-and-go food distribution sites will be set up at 18 locations. Breakfast is served from 8-10:30 a.m. and lunch from 10:30 a.m.t o 2 p.m.[Fairfax County Public Schools]
Local Parks, Libraries Closed — The Fairfax County Public Library System and local parks will be closed for due weeks to the novel coronavirus threat. [Patch]
Telecom Entrepreneur Dies — John McDonnell Jr., who started Recon-Based Transaction Network Services, died in March at a hospital in Florida. He was 82. [The Washington Post]
Boston Properties Sell Properties — The company has sold its New Dominion Park property, including 499 Grove St., in Herndon to an affiliate of USAA Real Estate. [Washington Business Journal]
Photo by Cbreezy
Early Reston Resident, Lawyer Dies — Calvin Larson, a lawyer who practiced bankruptcy law in Fairfax County, died last month. He was a civic activist and one of the early residents of the new town of Reston. Larson — who delivered copies of The Washington Post early in the morning until he was 85 — was also a founder of the Reston Community Association and the Reston Music Center. [The Washington Post]
Reston Community Players Receive Honors — The group was nominated for the 20th annual Washington Area Theatre Community Honors for several productions, including “A Gentleman’s Guide to Love and Murder” and “Time Stands Still.” [Maryland Theatre Guide]
Staff photo by Jay Westcott
Born in Havana, Cuba, de la Fe was first appointed by the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors in 2001 and he was one of the architects behind bringing Metro rail to the Dulles Corridor. He grew up in Miami and became a U.S. citizen in 1958.
He worked for NASA in the 1960s and married Sarah Anne Prendergast in 1964. From 1969 to 1971, he created the Illinois State Bureau of the Budget and later established the Special Action Office for Drug Abuse Prevention.
The de la Fe family moved to Reston in 1971 and de la Fe lived in the community for 47 years. He served on several local boards and committees, including Reston Association’s Board of Directors, Reston Soccer and Reston Interfaith, now known as Cornerstones. He was also chairman of the Fairfax County Park Authority.
His family issued the following statement following his death:
[We] are forever grateful that our parents chose to not only settle in Reston, but to fully embrace the vision for what the community could be – the hard work it would take to realize that vision. We learned the importance of service and a strong community. And, most importantly, we learned about family. Family you are born to and family you choose. The connections and friendships made in regency square, Reston soccer, swim team and St. Thomas are relationships and friendships that continue to this day…
In lieu of flowers, the family is asking individuals to send donations to the Fairfax County Park Foundation.
He is survived by his daughters Catherine and Mary, son-in-law Dionicio and grandchildren Megan, Caitlin, and Juan.
Photo via Adams Green
Public Meeting Tonight on Unfunded Transportation Projects — Fairfax County Department of Transportation officials are seeking public input on nearly 300 transportation projects that are vying for roughly $100 million in funding. Local residents can provide feedback on proposed projects at a public meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive). The meeting will include a formal presentation about unfunded projects and a question-and-answer session. [Reston Now]
Be Alert for Deer on Roadways — Police are urging residents to be alert and aware of the potential for deer to dart into the road in front of their vehicles. About half of all deer-vehicle collisions occur during the months of October, November and December, they say. [Fairfax County Police Department]
County Rape Suspect Arrested in West Virginia — Eusebio Romero-Rivera, 48, is believed to have fled the state after a warrant was issued for his arrest on a charge of raping an adult family member in August. The U.S. Marshals Service says Romero-Rivera, a Salvadoran national, had previously been deported and had re-entered the country illegally. [The (Martinsburg, W.Va.) Journal]
Learn About Lyme Disease Tonight — The National Capital Lyme Disease Association will host a panel discussion on the topic tonight, 7:30-9:30 p.m., at South Lakes High School (11400 South Lakes Drive). [NatCapLyme]
Herndon Welcomes South Korean Guests — Herndon’s mayor and Town Council exchanged gifts, including a ceremonial Town Key, with the South Korean visitors, who were guests of Grandmaster H.K. Lee Academy of TaeKwonDo. [Connection Newspapers]
Local Military Veteran Dies in Texas — Carl Bolle, a 1977 graduate of Herndon High School, served 20 years in the U.S. Army and achieved the rank of sergeant first class. Among his medals, he earned the Meritorious Service Medal and the Army Commendation Medal. After retiring, he worked as a contractor in the computer intelligence area at Fort Hood for 16 years. [Temple Daily Telegram]
Weird Brothers Coffee (321 Sunset Park Drive, Herndon) has announced via social media that co-owner Kenny Olsen died unexpectedly Thursday.
My dear brother Kenneth Olsen passed away yesterday. Our family is distraught and still in shock. Kenny had the biggest…
Brothers Paul and Kenny Olsen founded the popular business as a mobile coffee bar before they opened their permanent location in Herndon in April. Paul told Connection Newspapers the next month about how close he and his brother were, leading to the name “Weird Brothers.”
“My brother and I, for our entire lives, have just always marched to the beat of a different drummer. It always turned out that when we were together, all these weird and strange things would happen. It just fit.”
Friends of the Weird Brothers have shared their condolences on social media.
Please help us support our friends at Weird Brothers Coffee, who supply Lake Anne Brew House with our amazing Nitro Cold…
Sorry to hear about your loss, sending condolences from The Frenchman team
— The Frenchman (@TheFrenchmanFT) August 4, 2017
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the business as it copes with Kenny’s death.
A memorial service has been scheduled for Friday, Aug. 18 at Adams-Green Funeral Home (721 Elden St., Herndon).
Photo collage via Weird Brothers Coffee/Instagram
Actor Evan Helmuth, who lived in Reston until the age of 10, died July 18 in Los Angeles of complications from a stroke.
Helmuth, who attended Lake Anne Elementary School before his family moved to the Midwest, pursued a film career after graduating from Interlochen (Mich.) Arts Academy and from the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts. His credits included appearances in numerous popular films and television series.
The following information was provided by Helmuth’s family:
Evan Hershey Helmuth passed away in Los Angeles, California on July 18, 2017 of complications from a stroke. Born in 1977, Evan lived in Reston, Virginia until age 10, when he moved with his family to Ames, Iowa. For many summers, he attended the Interlochen Arts Camp in northern Michigan, followed by three years of high school at the year-round Interlochen Arts Academy. He graduated from the Academy in 1995 as a theater major, receiving the school’s highest award for an individual arts graduate. He further pursued his dramatic studies at the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts, where he received numerous awards and graduated in 1999 with the prestigious Jack Nicholson Award for outstanding actor. He lived in Los Angeles since that time.
Helmuth’s film credits include the Farrelly Brothers’ Fever Pitch, where he appeared opposite Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore as Fallon’s Red Sox-loving sidekick Troy; William Brent Bell’s 2012 horror movie The Devil Inside as Father David; and Joshua Michael Stern’s 2013 Steve Jobs biopic Jobs starring Ashton Kutcher. His TV credits spanned the likes of ABC’s Alias, CBS’ NCIS, Fox’s Bones, TNT’s Rizzoli & Isles and more recently CBS’ comedic drama Battle Creek.
Evan is remembered as a warm, kind, generous, and talented person by family and friends. He is survived by his sister, Erika Fairchild Helmuth Saunders of Hershey, PA; his stepmother, Paula Forrest of Ames, IA; and his beloved dog Sasha. He was preceded in death by his father John William Helmuth and his mother Kerry O’Brien Helmuth. Memorial contributions can be sent in Evan’s name to the University of Southern California School of Dramatic Arts and the Interlochen Center for the Arts, Theatre Division.
Former Assistant Principal Passes Away — Bill Weaver, a longtime assistant principal at South Lakes and Herndon high schools, died last week at the age of 83. Weaver was also a former football coach at George Mason and James Madison high schools. [Southern Maryland Online]
Community Meeting Tonight on Temporary Fire Station — Residents are invited to come to the North County Governmental Center (1801 Cameron Glen Drive) tonight at 7 p.m. to learn about the county’s plan for Reston’s temporary fire station, and to share their thoughts. [Reston Now]
County Fire Welcomes New Recruits — After 28 weeks of training, new members of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue graduated from training Friday evening. Some began work the next morning, while others started on the job today. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]
Police: Watch for Signs of Gang Activity — The Fairfax County Police Department says certain types of graffiti can be an indicator of increased gang presence in a community. In addition, they are sharing tips for parents to look for in kids who may be at risk. [WTOP]
Snow Forecast Disappoints — Snow that was predicted to fall overnight didn’t amount to much of anything in Fairfax County, but it will remain windy and cold today. Warmth is expected to return soon, with 60s or even low 70s possible again Sunday. [Capital Weather Gang]
Three Divas Readying for Upcoming Show — Reston’s three divas (Beverly Cosham, Menda Ahart and Felicia Kessel-Crawley) will perform Friday, Feb. 17 at Reston Community Center, Lake Anne. Though the concert is free, seating is limited and reservations are encouraged. [Reston Museum]
Notable Death: Ralph Edward Groening — Groening, a longtime Reston resident, died earlier this week at the age of 97. Groening was a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, and worked for the U.S. Department of Agriculture for several decades. [Reston Patch]
William “Bill” Young was born in Philadelphia, PA on July 6, 1942. He was the son of William A. Young, Jr. and Lenora Stephens Young. Bill graduated from Central High School in 1960.
He went on to Bates College in Lewiston, ME graduating with his Bachelor’s Degree in Economics in 1964. He then moved to New York to attend Columbia University, earning his MBA in 1966. Bill then started his own company, Boone, Young and Associates with another Bates College graduate, David Boone. Read More
Dr. Farrell, originally from Clarksburg, W. Va., was a 1955 graduate of Campion Jesuit High School, a Jesuit boarding school for boys in Prairie du Chien, Wis. He was a 1959 graduate of the University of Notre Dame.
Dr. Farrell completed his medical training in 1965 after his internship at Medical College of Virginia in Richmond, and residency at Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh.
After completing his medical training Dr. Farrell served in the U.S. Navy Medical Corps at the U. S. Naval Hospital, Pediatrics, Camp Lejeune, N.C. In 1968-69, he served in Vietnam pacification program as a Navy pediatric physician advisor II corps, Milphap Team N-4 in Nha Trang and Saigon treating plaque, malaria and tuberculosis.
After being discharged in 1969, he continued to serve in the U. S. Navy Reserves receiving an honorable discharge as Lieutenant Commander April 1975. He received the National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Service Medal and Vietnam Campaign Medal.
After his military service, Dr. Farrell moved to Reston in 1971, establishing Farrell Pediatrics in Hunters Woods Village Center.
In 1985, he moved his practice to Sunset Hills Professional Center. The practice still bears his name and has provided care to thousands of young patients in Northern Virginia.
“Dr. Farrell was such a good clinician that in 1989, when my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia, he knew the diagnosis before the blood test came back,” said Reston resident John Farrell, a lawyer who often joked with the doctor because the two shared the same name.
Dr. Farrell was preceded in death by his father, Dr. Marcus E. Farrell and his mother, Mae Ann (Hurray) Farrell. His first wife, Carol (Aston) Farrell, died in November 2015 in Raleigh, NC.
He is survived by his wife Nancy; brother Marcus E. Farrell Jr. (wife Ellen); son John David Farrell Jr. (wife Kerry and grandchildren Victor, Patrick and David); Laura Farrell Page (husband Jeff and grandchildren, Carter, Natalie and Logan); Michael Farrell and Julene Farrell; and stepdaughter Cynthia Connell (husband Paul and grandchildren Brian and Kevin).
Family will receive guests on Friday, Oct. 28 from 6-8 p.m. with a memorial service to be held Saturday, Oct. 29 (time and location pending).
More information and a condolence book can be found at www.adamsgreen.com.
Photo: Dr. John D. Farrell Sr./Family photo via Adams Green Funeral Home.