Victim's friends, family mourn his loss

By NICOLE SMITH, Daily Mountain Eagle
Posted 9/22/16

The community of Oakman is mourning one of their own and remembering the family man who was deeply devoted to the community.

Lyle Guthrie, 32, arrived home Tuesday afternoon to find two men burglarizing his home. A vehicle pursuit ensued when the …

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Victim's friends, family mourn his loss

Posted

The community of Oakman is mourning one of their own and remembering the family man who was deeply devoted to the community.

Lyle Guthrie, 32, arrived home Tuesday afternoon to find two men burglarizing his home. A vehicle pursuit ensued when the suspects fled, and Guthrie was shot multiple times by one of the men during the chase. He was transported to UAB hospital where he passed away Tuesday evening.

Those in Oakman and around Walker County have been outspoken since the tragic news, hoping justice is served.

“I just hate to lose anyone from the community and especially in those circumstances,” Oakman Mayor Dennis Welch told the Eagle on Wednesday morning. “It’s a sad loss for the family. It’s just a bad situation all around.”

Cory Franks, who will be sworn in as the new mayor of Oakman in November, went to Oakman High School with Guthrie and said the two grew up together and have always been friends.

“Lyle, he was a great guy. He was the type of person who you could call for anything,” Franks said. “Lyle was fun to be around and fun to hang out with. Everyone that I’ve ever known, that knows Lyle, liked the guy. ... It’s just shocking that this would happen to him.”

Bull Pen Steakhouse owner Bull Corry called Guthrie “a big guy with a big heart.”

“He has a wonderful family and would do anything for the school or community. He was much loved and will never be forgotten,” Corry said.

Many took to social media to speak to Lyle’s character and their love for him, including his mother, Denise Blackwell Smith.

In a public post to Facebook, she said, “As most of you know, my son, Lyle Guthrie was murdered yesterday. My life ended the moment he took his last breath. Lyle and I had a relationship, a bond, a love for each other that words can't describe. ... He was my air, my sunshine my everything. Thank you to everyone that was at the hospital. Thank you for the calls and messages. I ask you all for prayers please.”

Another relative, Mark Fowler, shared old photographs of Lyle on Facebook and recalled the young man he watched grow up to be a pillar of the community.

“I saw this child grow into a well respected man in Walker County. There is obviously a reason why he was respected and had so many friends. It's a shame someone that works so hard to make a name for himself and a low life can take everything away in an instant. Take a husband, father, son, grandson, cousin, nephew, ......a FRIEND away,” Fowler said.

Guthrie leaves behind two daughters and his wife, Beth Guthrie. The businessman was overseeing the build of a new Big Guy Tires & Auto location along Viking Drive in Jasper.

“It’s a big loss to our community because this is one of the last things you expect to happen in a small community like Oakman,” Franks said. “Everybody knows everybody, and when something like this happens, everybody feels the effects. It’s going to take some time before something like this passes. It hits close to home.”

In one of Guthrie’s posts to Facebook this year, he reflected on the importance of making each day count in a special message to his wife.

“I don't how long I am going to live but I know that every single second will be worth a lifetime because it will be spent with you. I love you,” he said.