Friday, December 17, 2010

Lyle Bestul, 1921 - 2010

Lyle Bestul was an icon. He was respectful and respected. When I ran into him at Signature's a couple years ago I think I finally felt like I could call him "Lyle", not "Mr. Bestul", and that was not disrespect for him after 50 years but a feeling that maybe, just maybe, I had earned the right to do so by virtue of my own age.

My sister LaVerne, Class of '55, used to talk about him a lot. "Mr. Bestul this and Mr. Bestul that." My guess is the last year he was in teaching the same thing was going on. My favorite story might be of the day before Christmas (or some other Holiday), when he announced a pop quiz, totally unexpected, so we each pulled out paper and pencil for the first question: "Who is buried in Grant's tomb?"

He acted so seriously about it until we caught on. And when he started laughing it was in that drawl unlike any I ever heard from any other person.

He was classy. He was a gentleman. When he did lose his temper I don't know that anyone was ever fearful so much as we were sorry to upset him because he was such a nice guy.

The respect he had for others was/is an attitude I even saw instilled in his son Brian, who led Viking basketball to an excellent season (sorry I don't know the record) before he went on to play at UNI. I was with Phil Johnson after one of Brian's games when we ran into Lyle and Brian. Though he didn't really know me from Adam, Brian knew who I was, and was as polite as you would expect from Lyle's son. It's true - the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

We were fortunate to have had lessons at this man's knee.


  1. Yes, he was a unique & special teacher. Does anyone remember when he used to tease Garlene Mikkelson about Travis Olmstead? Or was it the other way around? An unlikely pair. He threatened to hang me upside down out the window one time if Corinne L & I didn't stop giggling.

  2. Mr. Bestul (Lyle) was a class act. He was mild-mannered and even tempered, respectful and sincere - a role model for being a good, decent human being. He will be remembered fondly by all whose lives he touched, I'm sure.
    We paid our respects to the family this afternoon at the funeral home. What wonderful stories we heard about him while we were there. Sorry to see him go - he was one of the good ones! Rest in peace, Lyle.


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