Eric was born to John and Fern Hutchison in La Grande, OR, on August 29, 1954. He passed away in Boise, ID, on October 26, 2023. Eric was raised with two older brothers, John and Steve Lyell.
Eric had many loves in his life. He developed a lifelong love of trains at a young age because of his father, who worked for Union Pacific. He loved learning, especially science and history, and reading. In high school, he developed a love for track, lettering in Cross Country. He also loved music. He was gifted musically, learning to play the saxophone, piano, banjo, and guitar. It was in high school that he met the greatest love of his life, Barbara. He dropped theater for her, because she was jealous of him kissing other girls while he was acting. After graduating from La Grande High School, Eric enlisted in the United States Air Force. When he finished basic training, he came back to marry his Barbara. Eric’s 20s were exciting and the Air Force expanded his world view. He met Chuck Yeager and Gerald Ford. Best of all, he and Barbara had two children, Misty and Chris.
Eric spent his 20s and 30s traveling around the world, sometimes with his family and sometimes without. Eric and Barbara’s song was Silver Wings by Merle Haggard because he was always flying away somewhere. One of the most memorable moments of Eric’s mid adult years was moving to Ramstein, Germany in 1985. He and his family spent 3 years in Germany. After Germany, Eric and his family were stationed at Hill Air Force Base, Utah. He retired from the Air Force in 1993 at the age of 39. He wanted to spend more time with his family. They moved to Ontario, Oregon, which is where he lived until his passing. Eric started Treasure Valley Community College in 1995 at 41. Tragedy struck Eric when his love of 27 years, Barbara, died at the age of 45. He graduated from Eastern Oregon University soon after with his teaching degree. He worked as a substitute and teacher for a couple of years.
He left teaching and decided to work at Heinz/Ore-Ida foods in Ontario. He was the head of security there for a few years. He retired from that job in 2016 at the age of 62. After retirement, he spent most of his time fishing, watching TV, reading, and enjoying a cold beer with his son and friends. His children gave him 4 treasured grandchildren: Alyssa (21), Nathan (18), Jonathan (18), and Shawn (15).
Eric was preceded in death by his father (1974), his mother (1995), his brother Steve (2009), his beloved Barbara (1999), and various friends and family members.