Donald W. Lyddon

Born: Tuesday, December 28, 1937
Passed: Thursday, February 1, 2018

2/15/2018 | 3:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Fred C. Olson Chapel 


Dr. Donald W. Lyddon, Jr., 80, died after a skiing accident in Sölden, Austria on February 1, 2018. He was born December 28, 1937, in St. Louis, Missouri, and lived in many other places before his family settled in Rockford, IL in 1952. His love of education began while attending Punahou School in Hawai'i and he went on to graduate from West High School in Rockford in 1955. He studied at the University of Illinois, Champaign-Urbana and received his M. D. from Northwestern University in Chicago, IL, in 1962. He received his Hand Surgery Fellowship in 1969 from Passavant Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In the same year, he joined his father, Dr. Donald W. Lyddon, Sr., at Lundholm Surgical Group in Rockford, IL, as a board-certified Orthopaedic Surgeon. He was an active staff member of Swedish American Hospital from 1969-2007, became a fellow of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons from 1973, and was re-certified in Orthopaedic Surgery and Surgery of the Hand through 2017.
Don's military career with United States Air Force began in 1963 where he was first a Flight Medical Officer and then a Flight Surgeon. He served on active duty as a Captain from 1963-1965 and was in the Illinois National Guard from 1965-1970, where he was promoted to Major.
Don volunteered his time as a member of the Board of Directors of the Northern Illinois Blood Bank (now Rock River Valley Blood Center) in Rockford since 1971 and served as President from 1976-1978, 1994-1996, 2008-2010 and Nov. 2012-2014.
Don served in the following positions in his professional associations: President of the Illinois Orthopaedic Society From 1981-1982; Oral Examiner for the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery from 1983-1984; Member of the Swedish American Hospital Board of Directors from 1984-1989; and, as a member of the Swedish American Foundation Board of Directors, from 1989-1995. During his medical career, Don published 39 medical publications, professional papers and presentations.
Don's academic appointments included: Instructor, Dept. of Orthopaedic Surgery at Northwestern University School of Medicine; Clinical Associate and Clinical Assistant Professor, Dept. of Surgery at University of Illinois College of Medicine; and Clinical Associate Professor, Dept. of Surgery, University of Illinois College of Medicine at Rockford.
Don had many hobbies, including flying, scuba diving, racing cars, shooting sports and skiing. He was a commercial pilot, held an instrument rating and was a certified flight instructor. He raced cars for over 15 years and won the Regional Championship in the Formula Ford class of the Sports Car Club of America in 1990, as well as many other awards. Don was an avid shooting sports enthusiast and master level competition shooter. He also held instruction certifications in several disciplines and was particularly enthusiastic about introducing people to the sport of Skeet and coaching them to success.
In 1961, Don met and married the love of his life, Virginia (Ginny) Hoyt. Don and Ginny were happily married for 56 years. He was forever grateful to her for humoring him throughout all of his various phases and interests. They loved traveling the world together.
Don is survived by his wife, Ginny; son, Steve (Amy) Lyddon; grandchildren, Caitlin and Carter of Springfield, IL; and daughter, Diane Lyddon of Reedsport, OR. Predeceased by parents, Donald W. Lyddon, Sr. and Ruth Karr Lyddon; and by his brother, James Lyddon.
Visitation will be held from 3:00 to 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, February 15, 2018 in Fred C. Olson Chapel, 1001 Second Ave. Rockford. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Swedish American Foundation, Rock River Valley Blood Center or charity of donor's choice.

Condolences & Shared Memories (6)

  1. Peter Wendsche, M.D.

    Let me note some milestones regarding the friendship with Don. We met together with his wife Ginny in the late 80tie in Davos, Switzerland during a Spine course. We seated together in the couch, which was bringing us to the down ski station. In this moment our friendship has been began.. Later (I think in 1994) we met in the ETS Trauma Meeting in Budapest. We seated with Niels Olaf Christensen and his wife Marianne from Sweden and with Klaus Dittel and his wife from Stuttgart. Later we met in different meetings of the Gerhard-Küntscher-Kreis, in local meeting in Brno. Don and Ginny visited us in Židlochovice, South Moravia, Czech Republic. We met also in Dresden, my birthplace. During their visit of Brno, we "raced" with the rent-car on the Brno circuit. Thankful I am looking back to his invitation to my first visit of the U.S.A. We visited together the orthopedic meeting in Anaheim and visited also Hollywood! It was great to see the houses of the famous persons of the American life. After a meeting in Toronto I visited Don and Ginny again in Rockford and together with his „Race-team“ we participated a race nearby Milwaukee. We visited together the Country Club for shooting. In 2009 I visited the U.S.A again together with my wife Dana. We visited together Chicago, Most of all I remember to skiing with him in Sölden, Austria the destination, which he so much loved. He was an excellent skier. Dana and I remember to Don in deep mourning. We never will forget him. He was a great American, a really friend of us!

  2. Leah Crull

    Tears fell at the news of Dr. Lyddon's passing, but as I write this I have a smile on my face thinking of him. Having worked with him for over 21 years, I don't just have memories...I have experiences! Many many wonderful rich experiences; he was my mentor, my teacher, my guide and my friend. We met when I was a young occupational therapist and he exposed me to the amazing world of hand surgery and rehabilitation. He truly lead by example; always thorough, gentle, intuitive, considerate and kind; a true gentleman in every way. One particular incident does come to mind, one that still makes me laugh to this day. I sent him a written report on a patient with a 5th finger fracture. He always read every report top to bottom. Unfortunately I referred to it as the "pinky"at one point within the written text. He circled the word "pinky" and wrote in his very recognizable hand writing..."there is no such thing."...! :) When I am presented with the question, "how did you get interested in hands?" I will continue to reply as I always have, "I had an amazing hand surgeon that took my under his wing and is the reason I am what I am today". Heaven celebrates the welcoming of this angel. He has always meant so very much to me. God Bless you Dr. Lyddon. My thoughts are with the family so very much.

  3. The Palmers

    Our Deepest Sympathy to All. He was an amazing man. Thinking of you.

  4. Patricia Lamp

    Dr. Lyddon was a wonderful surgeon with a great beside manner. He will be greatly missed.

  5. Charlie Hardwick

    My Dearest Ginny and Diane, I’m so deeply sorry for your loss. Keeping you both in my thoughts and prayers. I have so many memories spent with you Diane and your family. What I remember the most about Dr. Lyddon is his passion for life. Watching him race and seeing him in his element was extraordinary to see. God bless you both and I will forever keep his memory alive. Ginny, you helped me to grow in ways that i’ll forever be grateful to you. I love you both so much! I wish I can be there!

  6. Mai Lynn and Dan Peters

    Our deepest sympathy and love. Uncle Don was a great man, friend and always had a smile for those he loved. We will miss him.