Share this story


Tom Lyster

Tom Lyster Obituary

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy of Brock Lyster

Tom Lyster

Tom Lyster passed away on June 28, 2022. He was 98 years old.

The story goes he was working as a lifeguard at the Kirkwood pool in St. Louis and saw a beautiful young woman and dove into the pool and swam over to where she was sitting by the side of the pool and he told her she was the most beautiful woman he had ever seen. Her name was Jackie Jett. They were soon married and driving to California to start a life together.

They ended up in Belmont Shores and got a small apartment there and set it up with modern furnishings. My sister Jamie was born there. Dad got a job selling steam cleaners in Orange County to the agricultural farmers there, as all the sales positions in Los Angeles County were full. 

When I (Brock Lyster) was born in 1954, the apartment was too small for the four of us and my Dad’s three older brothers and two older sisters convinced Jackie and Tom to buy a brand new tract house in Garden Grove rather than the cute little old cottages they liked in Corona del Mar.

So, our early childhood years were in Garden Grove where our brother Mark joined us after he was born and we were a family of five. My Dad would always introduce his beautiful wife Jackie and his wonderful three kids, a blond, a brunette and a red head. He loved his family and was very proud of all of us. 

Our house was close to Knott’s Berry Farm and Disneyland and we could also choose between all of the beaches from Huntington to Laguna to go to the beach. 

He would later take that steam cleaning technology and build two car washes in Orange County. At that time, he was racing early handmade go-carts on a dirt lot near one of the car washes. 

When the Garden Grove Freeway was starting construction it was too close to our house, and we all voted as a family to move to Laguna and live by the ocean. We chose to have less money but a bigger life at the beach.

Our friend and artist Jan Peters helped us find a lot in a steep ravine full of avocado trees on Diamond Street. She also introduced our Dad and Mom to Lamont Langworthy, the architect.

Our Dad had transitioned from car washes to selling roof trusses and the only requirement he asked of Lamont was to use roof trusses in the design.

The house was built in 1963 and was a modern wood and glass house and felt like a tree house among the avocado trees.

Our Dad was so proud of the house, that if anyone slowed down at all and looked at the house he would go out and meet them and invite them in for the Grand Tour. 

Lamont and our parents would invite friends over to have yoga sessions with soup and bread after.

When the Unitarian Fellowship did not have a place to meet, our Dad offered up our house.

Soon after the house was completed, our Dad went up to call on the renowned architectural photographer Julius Shulman to come photograph our house. He agreed to do it for free and the photos are now part of the Shulman Collection at the Getty.

For the photo session, Jan had many of her artist friends drop off art pieces. Our parents ended up having many friends who were artists and educators. 

When the lot below our house went up for sale, our Dad struck a deal with the lot owner to let him build on the lot and pay him when the house was sold.

That was the Bridge House that Lamont designed with my Dad’s trusses to span across the ravine so that we would have a nice house to look at below our house.

The design of that house led to a company our Dad, Mom and Lamont started called Concept Environment that used the truss bridge technology to create pre-fabricated houses. The first prototype was at the base of Park Avenue by Wendt Terrace.

Then they stacked three of them up for their friend Fred Lang above Aliso Beach for his landscape architecture business.

They would build 100 more to go out to places around California before Ford Motor Company bought them out.

Around 1966, our parents and Lamont and a lot of their friends started a group called The Citizens Town Planning Association or CTPA. The idea was to get the public educated and involved in the city planning process. I remember our Dad hiring the Byrds rock group in 1967 to play at the Irvine Bowl at the Festival of Arts to raise money for their new organization. 

Our Dad loved his family, doing whatever work he did from steam cleaners, car washes, selling roof trusses and building houses. 

When he got excited, he would slap the table hard with expression and if you were in the car with him – look out – because he would slap your knee. He would also rub his hands together really fast and then clap his hands. His excitement for life was catching and we all got it. 

When he figured out he could live on less and have more he started spending his time running on the beach and doing yoga. He would travel the world to study yoga and widen his knowledge.

I once asked him what he had learned from all of his yoga study and travels and he said, “Pal, whatever you do, whether it is something you do not look forward to, or you know you are going to really enjoy, get into it 100 %. Really get into it.” 

So, we are going to remember you that way Pal, Tom, Dad. Here’s to you!

His kids Jamie, Brock and Mark, and his grandkids Sylvi, Lauren and Lynn survive Tom.

A memorial gathering is not planned at this time. You can send thoughts about Tom to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Submitted by Tom Lyster’s son, Brock Lyster.


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


Email: for questions about advertising


*The content and ads in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the publisher.

© 2023 2S Publishing, LLC - All Rights Reserved.