Lyla Nettles

Lyla Nettles, loving wife, mother, grandmother, teacher, mentor and friend, lived a full life and died peacefully on November 5, 2017, surrounded by family. She was the only child of John Lyle and Mary Frances Hamner, and was born in Austin, Texas, on September 1, 1933.  She is survived by her loving husband of 62 years, Barry Nettles, and also by her children:  Larry Nettles and his wife Jenny; Tanya  Heeke and her husband Verl; and Barfield Nettles and his wife Cindy; as well as grandchildren Caroline Nettles Kennedy (Michael), Kim Nettles, Taylor Heeke Meyering (Chris), Morgan Heeke, and Jamie Nettles (Ashley).

Lyla touched more lives and helped more people than almost anyone we know.  She lived by the motto that unless you leave this world in better condition than it was when you were born, life has been wasted.  Lyla fulfilled her goal of making the world a better place, as she helped thousands of people during her 84 years in this world.

Lyla graduated from the University of Texas at Austin, where she met, fell in love with and married Barry, and they both began life-long careers as educators.  She began her career as first and second grade teacher in the tiny community of Tehuacana, Texas.  In 1956 she moved to Baytown, Texas and taught English in the Goose Creek school district for more than 35 years, and she served as chair of the Cedar Bayou English Department for a decade.  She was known for making the study of literature fun and something that you can enjoy for a lifetime, and she received the prestigious School Bell Award in 1984.  After retiring from the classroom, she spent several years teaching home-bound students who were injured or too sick to attend school.

Following her retirement from the Goose Creek schools in 1992, Lyla then moved on to Lee College to teach English and American citizenship to students in Baytown who were seeking a high school graduate equivalency degree (GED). Many of these students were adult immigrants who had children in the Goose Creek schools.  Lyla promised her students that if they obtained their GED and wanted to continue their education, she would pay for them to attend college.  More than a dozen students accepted her offer, and many went on to obtain undergraduate degrees, and a couple of them became teachers too.  In all, Lyla spent more than 50 years teaching, mentoring, motivating, inspiring, and encouraging literally thousands of students.

Lyla was always helping others, and everyone knew that she was a “doer” who was willing to take on almost any project.  After she and Barry moved from Baytown to Clear Lake, she became very involved with the Clear Lake Panhellenic Association, where she served as president and received the Association’s Citation Award.  She also took on leadership roles with the Friends of Bay Area Turning Point, Lunar Rendezvous, Bay Oaks Country Club Women’s Association, Bay Oaks Community Association, Bay Area Museum Guild, Assistance League of the Bay Area and numerous other organizations and committees.  She was recognized for her many community service activities when she received the “Women of Heart” award from the Friends of Bay Area Turning Point in 2003.

Lyla also was very active in the churches she attended.  When she lived in Baytown, she became the first female deacon at First Presbyterian Church, and she later served as an elder, a Stephens minister, chair of the building committee, and a Sunday school teacher for all ages.  Since moving to Clear Lake she has been similarly active with University Baptist Church, where she was a member of the Alpha Omega Sunday School class.  She enjoyed playing bridge and gardening, spending time with friends, hosting family vacations at the beach, dining with her neighborhood dinner club, and she was an accomplished artist.

Although Lyla has left this world, her legacy lives on in the thousands of lives she touched.  A celebration of her life will be held at the Crowder Funeral Home, 111 E. Medical Center Blvd., in Webster TX (77598), at 11:00 AM on Friday, November 17, with a reception following in an adjacent room.  The family will receive visitors at the funeral home from 5:30 to 7:30 PM in the same location the night before the service.  Donations in honor of Lyla and to continue her legacy in education may be made to the Crawford-Zbanek Scholarship Foundation, P.O. Box 58355, Webster, TX  77598 and designated to the Lyla Nettles Memorial Scholarship Fund; or you may make a donation online through the following web site:  and by putting Lyla Nettles Memorial Scholarship Fund in the “make my donation in honor of” box.


  1. Thoughts and prayers for all of your family/

    Bill & Debbie Westerman
  2. So sorry for your loss. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all your family.
    I met Mrs. Nettles in ESL classes that were offered for parents in my daughter’s school. I became a teacher thanks to her and I’m forever grateful for having met her. She changed my life and for that she will always be in my heart and prayers. ❤

    Maria Chavez
  3. We were both so sorry to hear of the passing of this wonderful lady and fantastic teacher. Both my husband and I had her for English at Cedar Bayou many years ago. She is one teacher that has always stood out in our minds. Not only was she a very caring woman, she was an outstanding teacher. Could not wait to get to her class. I still cringe when I hear someone end a sentence with a dangling participle. She made learning so much fun and we still remember her fondly because of that. We are both thankful that Mrs. Nettles was in our lives.

    Jan Gerbig Connealy and Don Connealy
  4. So sorry to learn the passing of Mrs. Nettles. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. I know she will be greatly missed by all who knew her.

    Patti McClurg Lewis
  5. We were so blessed to know Miss Lyla. She and Mr. Barry took interest in our childrens’ mission in the Philippines, helping us build a long-term foundation and touch lives for Christ for years to come. Her giving spirit continues on the other side of the world. Only now, from Heaven, can she look down and see the tremendous impact that she has made all over the world. Her life on Earth was AMAZING!

    Troy & Thai Beaver
  6. I first knew Lyla as my Sunday School teacher at First Presbyterian church in the early sixties. Then she worked with me in journalism when I was a student at Cedar Bayou Junior high in 1963. Later I knew her as “Barfield’s mother” when I taught Barfield in Sunday School. Eventually I became a teacher in the Goose Creek School District, so Lyla and I became co-workers. She could make me laugh at district meetings. When Lyla retired from Goose Creek, she continued to be a part of my church family. After she moved away, she stayed in touch with my husband, Richard, since he had been her pastor. During all those years, Lyla was a person that I looked up to and respected and admired. She contributed to this world and left it a better place. She set an example for others to follow. She will be sorely missed.

    Elsa Kleiman
  7. Lyla was a beautiful woman, inside and out. I am so sorry for your loss.


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