Lylah Almon

April 18, 1926 – Feb. 5, 2013


4 almon obit 4_melissa-finalLylah Jean Runingen Almon, a longtime Laguna Beach resident, died peacefully at her Laguna Woods home Feb. 5, 2013 at the age of 86.

Lylah had a simple upbringing. She was raised on a small family farm in Houston, Minn., along with her brothers Reginald and Glen and sisters Judy and Gladys. When Lylah was 4 years old, her mother died and her Aunt Belle stepped in to help raise the five children. At an early age, Lylah learned to milk cows, make soap and bread, and tend to dispatching the chicken for Sunday dinner.

She attended a one-room schoolhouse where she skipped seventh grade after listening closely to what the older kids were learning. Lylah was her high school’s very first majorette, leading the Houston High School marching band. And yes, the band did play the trick on her by turning right while she kept twirling and walking straight ahead. And it was with a majorette’s sense of direction that she knew where she was going in life and what she wanted.

“I’m going to leave the farm, become a nurse, and marry a doctor,” she told her sister, Gladys, as a young girl. And that’s what she did.

Lylah left the farm after graduating salutatorian from her high school, and attended Mounds-Midway Nursing School in St. Paul, Minn.

Upon graduation, she hopped on a train to San Francisco and took a job at the U.S. Public Health Hospital working in surgery. There she met her husband of over 50 years, Dr. David Almon. From 1954 to 1966, Mrs. Almon and her growing family lived in Claremont, Calif., before moving to Irvine Cove in 1966. For the next 27 years, Lylah and David worked side by side at his Newport Beach pediatric office.

Above all, Mrs. Almon was a caregiver. She took care of people. She volunteered. She was PTA president at El Morro Elementary School, treasurer of her homeowner’s association in Irvine Cove, and member of the Queen of Hearts Guild at CHOC Children’s Hospital.

Mrs. Almon was loved by all for her sweet disposition, sense of humor, and quiet strength. She never judged people. She loved anybody and everybody just as they were …with no expectations for them to change for her or to be any different. She was able to see the gift in everyone.

In true Minnesotan-Norwegian-fashion, she never raised her voice. The only way you could tell something wasn’t quite working for her was when she said, “Oh, honestly.”

Her door was always open. She was given to hospitality. She was an amazing listener. When you spoke to her, her eyes never left your face. You were the only person in the room.

She loved to travel and went all over the world—continent jumping with her own personal tour guides and adventure buddies.

She was a craftswoman. Creative. An accomplished seamstress who made prom dresses, Halloween costumes, and formal dress coats … not because she had to, but because she could and wanted to.

At St. Mary’s Episcopal Church, she was an usher, a greeter, served coffee during coffee hour, and was a trained Stephen’s Minister who worked one-on-one with individuals who needed support while going through a serious life crisis.

When asked what she thought was the most important thing she learned in life, she said,  “Always think positive and know every day of your life counts.”

Mrs. Almon practiced what she preached until her last breath. She will be deeply missed.

Mrs. Almon was predeceased by her husband, Dr. David Almon, and son, Jeff Almon. She is survived by her daughters Beth Coyle (Bill) of Fairport, N.Y. and Melissa Almon (Gasper Patrico) of Aliso Viejo; daughter-in-law Kathy Almon of Mission Viejo; sister Gladys Meiners of Caledonia, Minn.; grandchildren Garrett, Melissa, Bradford, Chloe, Sophia, Ryan and Kyle; great granddaughter Sophia; as well as many nieces, nephews and friends.

A memorial service was held at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church on Feb. 8.

Donations may be made in her honor to St. Mary’s for Episcopal Christian Women (ECW). Checks can be made out to “St. Mary’s Episcopal Church” and on the memo line include: ECW-In Memory of Lylah Almon.  Mail to St. Mary’s Church, 428 Park Ave. Laguna Beach, Calif., 92651. ECW is an outreach group where Mrs. Almon was a member for years. These ladies support all kinds of people in need from the Friendship Shelter (for the homeless) in Laguna Beach to McCord Women’s Hospital in Durban, South Africa.

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