Frank and Jane Lyon Celebrate Expanding The Reynolds Institute of Aging

Frank and Jane Lyon probably first met as children in their pediatrician’s office, perhaps bonding momentarily over a set of scarred wooden blocks and runny noses.

They didn’t really get to know each other until years later as adults, when Frank was a friend and hunting buddy of Jane’s brother-in-law. They started dating in May 1976 and married the following March. The couple has two daughters, Karen and Ashley, and four grandchildren, twins Hannah and Henry, William and Ryan.

Frank is an avid hunter and has hunted large, dangerous game all over the world. Jane is a Thoroughbred horse breeder and has written two children’s books about rescued racehorses that she has raised, the profits of which have benefited Thoroughbred rescue organizations. The couple shares a love of animals and Sub-Saharan Africa.

These adventure seekers have led full lives already, but their voyages are far from over.

When it comes to getting older and the issues that come along with it, they feel uplifted and encouraged, mainly because of the amazing senior care available at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences’ Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging (RIOA).

Since its inception, the RIOA has developed a comprehensive, multidisciplinary approach to the care of seniors that includes not only world-class disease treatment and care but also research and prevention. The institute’s longevity clinic is one of the South’s largest primary care clinics for seniors, and U.S. News & World Report has named UAMS’ department of geriatrics to their list of top 10 graduate programs every year since 2002. It’s safe to say Arkansas’ seniors are in good hands.

The Lyons have been involved with the RIOA since Dr. David Lipschitz first envisioned a center like this for Arkansas, Jane said. Both Frank’s and Jane’s parents were cared for by the doctors and staff of RIOA, and now Frank and Jane are receiving care there as well.

“Frank and I both strongly feel that cutting-edge research by the talented physician-scientists at the Institute on Aging is absolutely essential to the healthy future of the aging population of Arkansas, which is growing at an astoundingly rapid rate,” she said. “Serving on the Reynolds Advisory Board for the past six years has made me more aware than ever that we must unlock the answers to questions of frailty, the aging heart, nutrition, memory loss and Alzheimer’s, just for starters.”

The RIOA was established through a $28.8 million gift from the Donald W. Reynolds Foundation. In 2009, the foundation awarded UAMS another generous building grant—this one for $33.4 million—for a vertical expansion that will not only increase facility space but also expand services. Three of the four new floors will be devoted to research laboratories, which RIOA Director Dr. Jeanne Wei said will elicit an “awe effect” from both scientists and visitors.

“Her enthusiasm about the design is contagious, and her descriptive adjectives at a recent board meeting were ones like, ‘spacious,’ ‘futuristic,’ ‘interdisciplinary’ and ‘well thought out,’” said Jane. “She is, quite frankly, beyond excited about the fifth floor, which she proudly calls the ‘piece de resistance’ and which will be the centerpiece of the building that will help to promote collaborative initiatives and interdisciplinary research training.”

Two events will herald the grand opening of the expansion: the first, at 10 a.m. on Thursday, March 29, will dedicate the John V. Schlereth Pedestrian Bridge that connects the RIOA to the Jackson T. Stephens Spine Institute. The second, at 10 a.m. on Monday, June 4, will be the grand opening dedication of the four-floor vertical expansion.

“It is all, simply put, quite thrilling,” Jane laughed. “This will be an outstanding addition to the Reynolds Institute and to the UAMS campus. Without question, what takes place on those four new floors will benefit our entire state.”



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