Charles “Is Said” Lyons

Charles Lyons Main Photo

Charles “Is Said” Lyons is preceded in death by his wife of 48 years; Anita Louise (Goines) Lyons, parents; George and Mabel Lyons, brother; Harold Lyons, and sister; Peggye Lyons.

He is survived by his brothers; George Lyons, Robert Lyons, James Lyons, Franklin Lyons, Jonny Lyons, and sisters; Betty Henderson and Sandra Hemphill, children; Stanley Lyons, Annette Lyons and Leah Lyons, grandchildren; Korinne Spencer, Reginald Scott, Michael Lyons, Ryan Scott, Alexis Lyons, Nyah Derrett and Trey Derrett, grandchildren; Alissa Scott, Victoria Lyons, Rhyan Scott, Marleigh Curtis, Clifton Curtis III, Ethan Spencer, Phoenix Spencer, Zadie Scott, August Scott and a host of cousins, nieces and nephews.

Charles “Is Said” Lyons, a renowned poet, play writer, and storyteller, passed away at the age of 88. He was a master of the written and spoken word, captivating audiences with his words and leaving a lasting impact on the literary world.

Charles was born on January 26, 1935, and raised in Atlanta, GA. He moved to Columbus, Ohio as a teenager and after graduating from East High School joined the United States Air Force. After leaving the Air Force he moved back to Columbus, Ohio where met his beloved wife of 48 years, Anita (Goines) Lyons.

Is Said wrote over 60 books and 40 plays. He discovered his love for writing and storytelling at an early age and went on to pursue a career in the arts. He made a name for himself, as a poet, play writer, and storyteller, earning accolades and recognition for his work including receiving the 2011 Columbus Legend Award from the King Art Complex, named Hot Times “HERO” of the year. He was honored as a Lincoln Theatre Walk of Fame Inductee in 2021. His name is forever embedded in front of the Lincoln and in the community he loved.

Is Said was known for his ability to bring his plays to life, evoking emotions in his audience and taking them on a journey through his words. He wrote about a range of subjects, from love and heartbreak to social and political issues. His works inspired many and will continue to do so for generations to come.

Is Said was a visionary in the world of the arts, inspiring and empowering audiences through his powerful and spiritual works. In 1973, he founded the Columbus-based “Advance Party,” bringing his unique vision to life and later collaborating with the Uhuru Dancers.

He shares his expertise with school age or homeless youth, growing artists, and senior citizens, conducting educational workshops fostering literacy, creativity, performance skills and, most importantly, self-awareness. Through his workshops, he encouraged individuals to embrace their individuality and harness their artistic talents.

Is Said’s impact on the world of the arts was significant and far-reaching. He left a lasting legacy, and his works continue to inspire and inform audiences to this day. Charles will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and fans. His legacy will live on through his works, which continue to inspire and bring joy to those who read them. Rest in peace, Is Said, a true leader in the world of the arts.

Visitation/Viewing ONLY 1:00 PM – 4:00 PM Wednesday, February 15, 2023 at MARLAN J. GARY FUNERAL HOME, THE CHAPEL OF PEACE EAST, 5456 E. Livingston Ave. (one block east of Noe Bixby, turn North on Lonsdale Rd.).

Memorial Service 1:00 PM – 3:00 PM Thursday, February 16, 2023 Lincoln Theatre 769 E. Long Street 43203.

Repass 4:00 PM – 6:00 PM Thursday, February 16, 2023 King Arts Complex 835 Mt. Vernon Ave Columbus, Ohio 43203.

Interment 10:00 AM Friday, February 17, 2023 at Evergreen Burial Park.

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Condolence Messages

  1. Jawanza (Prof. Paul J. Cook, Sr.)

    We have lost a talented and conscious Brother. We are all elevated by his creativity and artistry. His yearly visits home to Africa were an inspiration to us all. I will cherish the discussions we had for the remainder of my days. We will miss you my dear Brother. –Jawanza (Prof. Paul J. Cook, Sr.)

  2. Rev. Clarressa Thompson

    To the family:
    We send our deepest condolences in the loss of your family giant. He will be deeply missed. We pray for your peace.

    True Healing Fellowships
    Rev. Clarressa Thompson, Overseer
    Rev. Jeremy Beckhon, Minister

  3. Brother Is Said left no void; his sharing of self and experiences was complete. Reading his autobiography called “Picking Cotton” and listening to him talk about sleeping out beneath the stars of Goree Island in Senegal transported my family and me to another time and culture. In sharing, he taught so much, and his spirit continues to teach as I read his writings.

  4. I send my heart felt condolences to the family and my friend Anntte ,you are in my prayers, May the Lord richly Bless all of you, and keep by His Love and Mercy

  5. Patricia and Willie Womack

    On behalf of the Womack Family (Patricia niece) from Atlanta, GA we would like to extend our sincere condolences and prayers for our loving Uncle Charles “Is Said”. It is with a heavy heart that we extend our love to our family and pray that God see you all through your time of grief. God Bless you all and know that we are here for you now and always.

  6. To the family,
    A great man that I had the pleasure of knowing and working with.

    RIH my friend

  7. You were and will always be a staple in our community. I’m glad to have been privileged to purchase some books from you. I will forever treasure the talent. RIP. Shem Hotep!

  8. The Columbus Whist Players Society

    To: The Family,

    We are keeping you in my warmest thoughts as you navigate this difficult time — and wishing you hope and healing when you’re ready.

    The CWPS membership

  9. Another great source of inspiration has moved on. However, Is Said’s work remains and the many lives he touched will keep him in their hearts as do I who directed several of his theatrical works to the delight of everyone at ComFest and Hot Times. God’s Speed, Is Said!

  10. This is not a condolence , but a flower that is a perennial for others to share . A Perennial has infinite life and will always reappear . In a realm of newness is where this flower will always be found, but you will only be able to see , if you diligently seek. With Unmastered, Unabused Love and true admiration . Your Only Peach, The Samurai

  11. Barbara S. Cleveland (*B.C")

    To The Lyons Family,,..For many years Mr. Is Said was a “Blessing” to many students k/ Elem. & Middle school in after-school programming at the The Dowd Education Center…. The Education component of The Homeless Family Foundation . Students looked forward to his special presentations and unique ways of involving each student in the process of expressing their individual thoughts and feelings! At Faith Ministries Church..where Dr.C Dexter Wise, 111 is Pastor…Mr. Is Said worked with The Faith Outreach Team Initiative that provided shoes for our Brothers/ /Sisters /Children & Youth in Senegal, Africa! He shared his God-given Gifts freely with many and Encouraged persons whenever they came into his presence!! “To God be The Glory” for his ..Loving/ Caring and Sharing Spirit! Sincerely, ,Barbara S. Cleveland (“B.C.”) Former Cols. City School Educator ….Representing…The Dowd Education Center & The Faith Outreach Team …Faith Ministries Church….Columbus, Ohio

  12. Your Dad Gramps Uncle and friend Brother Is Said was a master of “Peace”. He left a legacy of literature love and truth.He showed the power of collective creativity.He taught ingenuity by teaching self sufficiency though example.In that you can write and print and develop venues to present and perform your own work and engage young and old and all in between to take part as watchers listeners or learners in the wonderful thing called life.Peace brother Is.The Master of truth and Peace.Amin

  13. My condolences to u and your family RIP

  14. Beverly Starghill

    We have spent 5 decades performing with our brother Is Said. We are thankful for the mural he commissioned for us in 2021 celebrating 50 years of dance and performing with him and Advance Party. He was always eager to share his knowledge and enlightening wisdom with us. He has taken us on many journeys with his books, spoken words and plays. We are forever grateful for his support through the years.

    The Uhuru Dancers

  15. I met this amazing man working the 1980 Census. He brought me into “Sharing A Gift Poetry Club,” and changed my life. He got me started! I last saw him at a ComFest about 5 years ago and asked me to perform with him. What a blessing from a legend! I will miss him always.

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