Beloved Canyon Lake resident Joe Ed Lyles, 76, who transformed a scrappy piece of land in front of the CRRC Rec Center into a garden that provides fresh produce to the hundreds of people who rely on the Food Pantry, died May 8.
The cause of death was not released.
A celebration of his life is scheduled for 10 a.m. June 3 at the Lions’ Pavilion by the Rec Center, 125 Mabel Jones Dr.
“He loved to teach and share his experiences, was quite the character, but the thing that stands out most was his heart,” said CRRC Executive Director Sean Bailey. “Be it for the CRRC, the Lions, the community, did not matter. Joe Ed was there to lend a hand and help. What a great legacy to leave.”
In a Facebook post, the charity CRRC described the garden as a “blank slate” when Lyles took it on as a project for the Canyon Lake Noon Lions’ Club.
The retired landscaper assigned each volunteer a plot and provided them with the seeds, soil, and expertise needed to grow food for Canyon Lake residents.
“Joe Ed loved to experiment at the garden just to see what worked better, grew faster and larger and would share these lessons with fellow gardeners,” Bailey said.
In numerous Facebook posts, Lyles described his garden as “the fun place to be.”
Early bird gardeners enjoyed Taco Tuesdays and brainstormed about how to make the garden grow more produce.
Lyles also treated them to field trips, zip lining, swimming adventures and visits to other area gardens.
“It’s a place where everybody knows your name,” he posted on Facebook on Feb. 26.
In 2022, the garden yielded 6,000 pounds of produce. Some 2,100 pounds were donated to the Food Pantry.
In 2021, the community garden was renamed Joe Ed Lyles Community Garden.
Canyon Lake Noon Lion Diane Schaule said the former Lion ‘tamer’ also served as planner and organizer of the Lions’ annual Christmas parade.
He exemplified the Lions’ motto, ‘We Serve,’ she said.
“As a Lion since 2016, Joe Ed served as the Lion Tamer (essentially a manager of all Lions property) but Joe Ed took this position one step further to act as parliamentarian and keep order during meetings and make sure everyone silenced their cell phones,” she said.
“When responsibility for the annual Christmas parade was inherited in 2016, Joe Ed took on the awesome responsibility of coordinating, overseeing, and focusing on all the myriad details to continue to make it the best parade ever,” Schaule said. “It was subsequently named the Canyon Lake Noon Lions Annual Christmas Parade. Joe Ed will be terribly missed by the Lions and the many community members he inspired with his love of gardening, and sharing the garden’s bounty with the CRRC Food Pantry.”