News & Events

Library gift honors three longtime sisters and teachers

Progress-Index – From Staff Reports Published: September 24, 2012

PETERSBURG – The Petersburg Library Foundation received a special gift to honor three sisters who were all long-time Petersburg teachers.

The Petersburg Library’s cafe will be named Lyons Cafe in memory of Maury Leigh, Julia and Ann Lyons following a $75,000 contribution by Mary Lyons Temple Hickey and Damon Douglas Hickey. A sign will dedicate the cafe in memory of the Lyons sisters.

Mary Hickey said her three aunts were all long-time Petersburg City Public Schools teachers that each taught more than 40 years in the local school system. The three sisters each began a teaching career in Petersburg after graduating from what is now Longwood University. “They taught their whole lives teaching the students of Petersburg,” Hickey said.

The decision for the gift was made after the death of the youngest sister, Ann, last month. “I thought it was appropriate to honor their memory and wanted to do something concrete because they touched so many in Petersburg,” Hickey said. “They were a local institution.”

The sisters all enjoyed reading books and also going out with friends, so naming the cafe in their honor seemed like a logical choice, Hickey said. “If they were here they would love to go to the new library and then have a bite to eat in the cafe,” she said.

Wayne Crocker, director of Petersburg Library Services, said that every time he met Ann Lyons he noticed in her “a sense of gratitude for having lived during a time when teachers had a passion for their profession. This included molding and shaping young minds so they could be the best at whatever they chose to pursue.”

Cheryl Collins, fund development officer for the Petersburg Library Foundation, said the organization was grateful for the Hickeys’ gift. “This memorial gift is a tribute to the Lyons sisters, and a symbol of the overarching educational and life lessons they gifted to so many students in the Petersburg School System,” Collins said. “The Lyons Cafe will honor their spirit of interaction and conversation for generations to come.”

The memorial gift brings the capital campaign to $10,198,258.

Concert to benefit library project

Petersburg – The Petersburg Library Foundation and the Petersburg Symphony Orchestra will present “For the Love of Books” – a concert to benefit the building of the new Petersburg Library.

The joint collaboration will feature and evening of music and eclectic entertainment. Featured guests will include singer/songwriter and recording artist Robbin Thompson and composer BJ Leiderman.

Mr. Leiderman is well known for his award winning National Public Radio compositions including Car Talk, Morning Edition and Wait Wait…Don’t Tell Me. His theme music has been a drive-time favorite on the radio for more than 30 years.

Award-winning singer/songwriter and recording artist, Robbin Thompson has been prominent on the national and international music scene since the early 1970s. Owner of Virginia’s largest post production recording facility, In Your Ear Music and Recording, Robbin Thompson has written songs with and shared the stage with members of the Dave Matthews Band, The Eagles, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, Crosby, Stills and Nash, Phil Vassar and many others. He has recorded 13 albums and written music for hundreds of radio and television commercials. His song “Sweet Virginia Breeze,” co-authored with friend Steve Bassett, is considered by many to be the “official unofficial state song of Virginia.”

The concert will be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 6 at the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School Auditorium, 512 W. Washington St. Tickets are $35 plus a $3.75 processing fee for each ticket.  for tickets, go to


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