Lyall Donald Squair, 80, of Syracuse, passed away on Monday, May 24, at the Syracuse Veterans Administration Hospital of complications after a brief illness.
Lyall was born February 2, 1930, in Ogdensburg to Harold and Mary (Geandreau) Squair. As a child, he was stricken with scarlet fever and encephalitis that left him temporarily paralyzed. At that time, he was not expected to live fully past 15 years of age. Rather than succumbing, he finished high school at Ogdensburg Free Academy in 1948 and graduated from New York State Ranger School in Wanakena in 1951.
After working for a short time as a lumberjack, he joined the United States Army and was assigned to 3rd Division Intelligence (G-2) and participated in the Korean War.
On December 25, 1951, he married Dorthy E. Hazelton of Wanakena. From 1953 through 1958 he worked as a subforeman in the crushing department of Jones and Laughlin Steel Corporation in Star Lake. After being injured in an accident in their open pit mine, he attended Syracuse University, where he received his A.B. degree in Liberal Arts History and Library Science in 1961.
Lyall remarried on August 14, 1959, to Linda Elizabeth Frodin of Akron, NY.
His lifelong career as a librarian and archivist began at Syracuse University, first in the Art Library and then at the Manuscript Department. He moved to a librarian position at Seymour School (now the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Magnet School) in Syracuse. As librarian for East Syracuse-Minoa schools from 1963 thru 1966, he implemented their first remedial reading program. Following a two-year stint as librarian to North Syracuse Central School, during which he also organized the library of the Masonic Temple in Syracuse, he went to work in 1968 at O'Brien and Gere Engineering in Syracuse with the title of manager of Data Retrieval and Use.
After retiring from O'Brien and Gere in 1992, he enjoyed working at the New York State Fair, meeting and greeting Fair visitors as a security guard at Gate Four near the Indian Village. A lifelong collector, Lyall was driven by a consuming interest in New York state history, the conservation of natural history, and the life and works of President Theodore Roosevelt. His collection of Rooseveltiana consisted of over 26,000 individual items, including personal effects of the president and his family and administration, and was purchased by the state of New York in 1998 in time to celebrate the 100 anniversary of Roosevelt's governership of New York. The collection was displayed around the state and resides at the New York State Library and the New York State Museum, where it is known as the Lyall Squair Theodore Roosevelt Collection.
In addition to his other achievements, he also made time for volunteer service in public, political and youth groups, including but not limited to the Syracuse University Alumni Association, the New York Ranger School Alumni Association, Masonic Lodge 687, Disabled American Veterans, Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Theodore Roosevelt Association, the Syracuse University Library Associates, John Vendetti Italian Veterans Post, the Liverpool School System Crawford Craven School Bridge Day, Urban League of Onondaga County Advisor to the Minority Business Committee, NAACP, Onondaga Indian Council of the Chiefs Advisor, St. Patrick's Day Parade Committee, the Marine Corps League and Auxiliary (1992 achievement award), Eye Research Foundation of Central New York, the National Boxing Federation (certified judge), Syracuse Friends of Amateur Boxing (president 1991-92, member 18 years), the National Amateur Athletic Union (boxing official), Syracuse Golden Gloves Boxing (director), the Pioneer Center (board member), the Media Unit, the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the State University of New York, the New York State Library Association, the Manuscript Society, the North Syracuse Teachers Association and the city of Syracuse Archival committee (by mayoral appointment).
He served on the city of Syracuse Board of Assessment Review from 1991-1995. In 2001, he was an Onondaga County Legislator. Throughout this all, he accumulated 50 years as a Master Mason with Wildwood Lodge #477 in Edwards, New York.
His writings include 63 published works mainly on New York state history, most notably including A Register of the Corporate Records of the Lackawana Division of the Erie-Lackawana Railroad Company, Syracuse University Press, 1964; A Register of the Corporate Records of the Erie Railroad Company, Syracuse University Press, 1964; and The Masonic Activities of Theodore Roosevelt, privately printed, 1966.
Lyall is survived by his wife, Linda (Frodin) of Syracuse; son, Stephen R. of Fine; daughter, Susan R., of Syracuse; daughter, Jenny Kubeck and husband, Bill of New Hampshire; daughter, Katherine and husband, Craig Rieke of Syracuse; son, Edgar M. of Los Angeles, CA; grandson, Justin E. Thompson and wife, Kim of Seattle, WA; grandson, Jeremy E. Thompson and wife, Marcy of Oswegatchie; great-granddaughters, Keri Thompson of Seattle, WA, and Lily Thompson of Oswegatchie.