Kayharts Named Honored Grandparents



Kayharts Named Honored Grandparents 2021

Debbie and Lyle Kayhart are this year’s Granton Fall Festival Honored Grandparents.  
They have three sons, six grandsons and five granddaughters.
Cheyenne Thomas/Tribune-Record-Gleaner


By Valorie Brecht

Having grandchildren living close by is a blessing for grandparents and being able to encourage them in their faith and watch them grow is a blessing greater still.

Lyle and Debbie Kayhart are this year’s Granton Fall Festival Honored Grandparents, and they have experienced all these blessing and more.

“Grandma and Grandpa are smiling and loving, quick to forgive and share. They are godly influences on all of us grandkids and encourage us to be the same to people around us,” granddaughter Leah said of Lyle and Debbie.

The two will be recognized in a ceremony Friday night at 7 p.m. at the Granton Fire Station and have a special spot in the Fall Festival parade Sunday.

Lyle and Debbie live about five miles east of Granton just off Highway 10. They have three adult sons – Ben, Paul and Mark – and 11 grandchildren from age seven to 17. Ben is married to Jordon and their daughters are Chloe and Lyla. They live across the road from Lyle and Debbie. Paul is married to Jessica, and they have five children: Micah, Leah, Josiah, Hannah, and Jonah. Paul and Jessica and family live in between Loyal and Granton on Romadka Avenue. Mark is married to Julie and their children are Anna, Peter, Phillip and Andrew. Their house is just across the field from Lyle and Debbie’s.

“It’s nice having all the grandkids within nine or 10 miles,” said Lyle.

Granton students can submit an essay of up to 500 words as to why their grandparents should be chosen as the Honored Grandparents. A committee of FFA Alumni members reviews the essays and chooses the recipients.

Debbie and Lyle’s granddaughter Anna wrote the essay nominating her grandparents. Lyle and Debbie found out about their award when they were having a joint birthday party for four of the grandkids. When they had all gathered around to pray before a meal, Ann presented her grandparents with a booklet with her essay and memories the other kids had written down.

It was overwhelming,” said Lyle.

“We were totally surprised; it was quite the honor,” said Debbie, who got a little choked up when it happened.

In the essay, Anna incorporated favorite memories each of the grandkids shared about going to their grandma and grandpa’s house. Some of the highlights included going rides with Grandpa in the tractor, sledding in the wintertime, enjoying Grandma’s pancakes, picking berries in the backyard, helping Grandma bake and playing games with their grandparents.

Other favorite memories include Grandma and Grandpa opening up their home for five-day club in the summer, where Bible teachers would come and teach lessons and play games with the kids. The grandkids were encouraged to invite their friends.

“Grandma and Grandpa always opened their doors to neighborhood kids and beyond,” said Hannah.

“When our grandkids have friend over, they come and visit us too. And they call us ‘Grandma’ and ‘Grandpa’ too,” Debbie said with a smile.

Another favorite memory of the grandkids has been something called cousins’ camp. “It’s a fun-filled three-day camp at grandma and grandpa’s house,” Anna wrote.

The boys stay over the first night of cousins’ camp and the girls the second night. The kids and grandparents do fun activities together like fishing, kayaking, making crafts and a tea party.

The family also gets together for every holiday, including the unofficial Wisconsin holiday of deer hunting season in the fall.

Spending so much time together has made the cousins a tight-knit bunch.

“We have a plaque that says, ‘Grandpa and Grandma’s house is where cousins go to become best friends,’ and that’s happened,” said Debbie.

Lyle and Debbie have gotten to share a lot of life with their grandkids, living so close.

“Grandma and Grandpa come down to the barn in the morning to help with chores. Many mornings have been spent fighting over who gets to ride in the tractor with Grandpa to spread manure over the fields. Grandma’s hugs and kisses are always there when a favorite cow has to be sold or a calf dies,” Anna wrote.

Lyle and Debbie have also lived their faith by example, and their grandkids have taken note.

“The best part of going over to Grandma and Grandpa’s house is how whey show their faith. When we pray before meals, we stand in a circle and hold hands. If anyone has a struggle in their life, Grandma and Grandpa are always praying for them. They show their faith in how they live, laugh and love through life every day. They have taught us so much about Jesus’ love for us,” Anna wrote.

Debbie and Lyle said they make it a pint to pray for their grandkids by name every day.

Lyle and Debbie say they have seen God’s hand on their lives throughout the years, from the two of them meeting to seeing their farm expand and be successful, to watching their family grow.

“Our entire life has been one blessing after another,” said Debbie.

Lyle and Debbie have always lived in the Chili area. Lyle attended school in Granton and Debbie in Marshfield. They were neighbors and lived one mile apart. Lyle would come work on his neighbor’s farm and Debbie was the farmer’s daughter. They got to know each other while both attended the Immanuel United Methodist Church youth group. Their first date was watching the fireworks together on July 4, 1974, and they were married in July of the following year.

Lyle worked at the Chili feed mill and Debbie worked as a secretary for Berg Equipment for a few years. When they started out farming, they only had ‘seven cows and two-and a-half acres,” said Lyle.

Their farm has expanded a lot since then. In 1998, they purchased property on Granton Road. Their son Mark graduated in 2000 and began farming with them full-time. In 2003, they had their current house built and they moved in, in 2004.

One major trial they had to go through when Lyle was diagnosed with Stage 4 bladder cancer in 2013. He had several weeks of treatment but that was unsuccessful, so he had to have surgery in Madison to have his bladder removed. It was a 12-hour surgery.

“We weren’t sure if he was going to make it,” said Debbie.

But their faith in God and support from family carried them through.

“We weathered the storm with God’s help. It really changes your whole perspective as far as what’s important in life – God  and family,” said Lyle.

Their grandkids were there to encourage them even then. They came to visit while Lyle was in the hospital recovering. Micah was 9 at the time and wrote Bible verses and notes of encouragement to his grandpa. That was also the year that Lyla and Jonah were born, which brought a lot of joy to the family during a hard time.

A yead ago, Lyle and Debbie celebrated their 45th wedding anniversary.

“God has brought us through everything… One of our favorite verses is Luke 1:37 which says, ‘With God nothing shall be impossible,’” said Debbie.


From the Clark County Press, Neillsville, WI

September 8, 2021

Transcribed by Dolores Mohr Kenyon, September 8, 2021.

Web page by James W. Sternitzky PhD, September 9, 2021.

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