Alltech founder Dr. Pearse Lyons dies at 73

Ruben Hill
March 9, 2018

Friends of Dr. Pearse Lyons, who died March 8 of complications from heart surgery at age 73, say his legacy will live on and inspire countless people in Lexington and around the world for years to come. Alltech focuses on improving animal, crop and human health and performance through its innovative use of yeast fermentation, enzyme technology, algae and nutrigenomics.

Since Mr Lyons, a native of Dundalk, founded the company, it has grown to become one of the biggest in the world in its field employing thousands of workers around the globe.

Lyons' charity interests included funding scientific laboratories in schools, scholarships to graduate students and the University of Kentucky's Opera Theatre program. The Sunday Times valued the net worth of Mr Lyons and his family at just under €2 billion, the sixth highest of any Irish citizen.

Lyons died Thursday morning followed months of hospitalization from complications following heart surgery November 1, Alltech spokeswoman Susanna Elliott said.

Lyons was born August 3, 1944, and grew up in Dundalk, in County Louth, on the east coast of Ireland about 30 miles north of Dublin.

Lexington Urban County Council held a moment of silence at the beginning of their regular meeting on Thursday. Public visitation in Lexington will be on March 16.

"We are all deeply saddened by my father's passing", said Dr. Mark Lyons, Pearse's son and chairman and president of Alltech. "In the hundreds of events that I have shared with Pearce, Deirdre and Alltech, all over the world, the singing of "My Old Kentucky Home" started each event or ended the evening". The company built Town Branch Distillery by its brewery on the west side of downtown Lexington in 2008.

"The thoughts of our entire Alltech family around the world are with Dr. Lyons' family, specifically his wife Deirdre, daughter Aoife, son Mark and Mark's wife Holly", said Alric Blake, CEO and treasurer of Alltech.

"If you can't sell Kentucky as a place to do business, then you're not in any shape or form a salesman, because it's an easy sale", Lyons said in a 2012 talk about entrepreneurship.

Former Kentucky Gov. John Y. Brown Jr., who knew Lyons well, said his story will inspire many. He took a road show of "Kentucky Proud" products to England's Royal Windsor Horse Show in 2009 and sat by Queen Elizabeth II in her private box.

In its first year, the company turned over a million dollars. Lyons was especially proud of the project, which his wife directed, because the adjacent churchyard held the graves of his great-grandfather and other relatives. "He had so much spirit for the city, for Lexington, for Kentucky".

Messages of condolences poured in from the local community and from around the world following the announcement of Lyons' death. The Alltech Innovation Competition gives $10,000 awards to entrepreneurs. One of the reasons why we have so many wonderful singers at United Kingdom now is because of the Alltech Vocal Scholarship Competition. Profits from Alltech's Café Citadelle coffees go to two primary schools in northern Haiti.

At his news conference in St. Louis, Calipari discussed his friendship with Dr. Lyons.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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