HURON — Doctor Lyle Paul Christopherson (“Doc”, the “World Renowned Psychiatrist”) passed away on Tuesday, July 9, 2019, at Avera McKennan Hospital after a battle with cancer. He was 63.
There will be a Celebration of Life at 3 p.m., Saturday, July 20, at his farm with family and friends.
Lyle was born in 1955, to loving parents Mary “Vi” and Orten Christopherson “Doc”, in Madison South Dakota. He is lovingly survived by five children, Sarah Christopherson, Jessica Christopherson, Melissa Christopherson, Joshua Christopherson, and Amanda Christopherson in addition to four brothers, Mark Christopherson, Gary Christopherson, Lynn Christopherson, Craig Christopherson, along with many loving nieces, nephews, cousins, a grandchild, and extended family.
Lyle grew up in Howard, and upon graduation from high school, he briefly attended Dakota State University. In 1978, Lyle joined the U.S. Army where served as a medical corpsman and psychiatric technician. After the military whipped him into shape, Lyle went on to study biology, chemistry and psych at the University of South Dakota, followed by Medical School at Kirksville College of Osteopathic Medicine in Kirksville, Missouri. Following medical school, he completed a four year psychiatric residency at the University of California in Fresno where he treated infamous political assassins including Charles Manson and Sirhan Sirhan at Atascadero State Prison. Fueled by his fascination and intrigue from these experiences, he went on to obtain a Board Certification in Forensic Psychiatry in addition to a Certification in Psychiatry and Neurology. He liked to say he was proud of few things, with his most prideful accomplishment being his intelligence.
Lyle had an unfathomable passion for knowledge, travel, and adventure. In unconventional Doc fashion, he completed his clinicals in different locations around the country: Portland Maine, Tulsa Oklahoma, Flandreau South Dakota, Harrisburg and Lancaster Pennsylvania and South Bend Indiana. Following his residency, he landed his first psychiatry job in Astoria, Oregon at Clatsop Community Behavioral Health where he also established a home for several years. During that time, he also worked at Willapa Counseling Center and Wahkiakum County Human Resources in Washington State. Following his desire to be closer to home in the Midwest, he moved to Sibley, Iowa. While in Sibley, he worked for Avera McKennan Hospital and University Health Center at various facilities including Worthington Regional Hospital and Southwestern Mental Health Center located in Worthington, Minnesota. He also worked at Western Human Development Center in Marshall, Minnesota and Riverview Clinic in Mankato, Minnesota. In 2004, Lyle moved closer to his family and friends in Huron where he worked with Community Counseling Services in Madison and Huron. During his years in psychiatry, he focused nearly all of his energy toward improving the lives of an incredible number of people who were ill and suffering.
There was always an undeniable allure about Lyle, and he cultivated many great friendships throughout his lifetime. He was always very considerate when it came to nurturing his relationships, whether it be friends from school, the military, neighbors, the workplace or his patients. Those who knew Lyle loved him. Lyle was a very giving person.
His passion was his family. His passion was his work. His passion was the remarkable world around him. He was an adventurer who loved to travel, to have a good time, who loved to delve into the curiosities of life with a rare and avid inquisitiveness. He loved to read everything from history and politics, to information about different worldly locations and the human mind. He was a gentleman farmer, an occasional hunter, a lover of birds and nature, an asparagus and mushroom forager, and a woodworker among many other things. He was a man with an exceptional sense of humor and light-heartedness, who tended to show a touch of stubborn, strong-willed, sternness from time to time.
Lyle was always courageous and up for a good challenge. Life, indeed, challenged him till his very last breath here on earth. Those who knew Lyle can only thank him for letting us share in his life adventure and for leaving us with so many incredible memories. Lyle’s legacy continues to live on in each and every one of us who had the exciting pleasure of knowing and loving him.
In lieu of flowers, charitable contributions may be made to the National Alliance of Mental Illness of South Dakota in honor of Dr. Lyle P. Christopherson. Donate online at www.namisouthdakota.org or call 605-271-1871.