Lyle Muller was born in Cook County Hospital – Chicago. His dad was a chemical engineer with Dorr Oliver Company formulating C-rations for WWII. His mom was a housewife. His dad was transferred to Macon, GA, where he attended school through the 4th grade. Between his 4th and 7th grade years, they lived in Atlanta, just north of the Fox Theatre. Their next move was to Miami where he played offensive lineman for Coral Gables High School.
Lyle graduated in 1967 from the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science. He was also a Sigma Chi. He received his military draft card classification (Class 1-A) indicating that he was now available for military service. Lyle then completed a three (3) year program at the University of Tennessee (UT) School of Dentistry in Memphis, graduating as a Doctor of Dental Surgery. He moved on to St. Louis University for a residency and Master’s in Orthodontics.
His first job was with UT – Memphis in 1973. They offered him a part-time position specializing in Temporomandibular disorders including TMJ. He would co-chair a program at the Cranial Facial Pain Clinic on occlusion – how teeth working together can affect the hinge at the ear. He worked several days per week in several offices; his own was near Shea Clinic.
Lyle came to Germantown in 1973. His specifications for finding a place to call home were three-fold: go where you want to live, live within one to hours of a good airport, and live in a small community. He also liked the seasons here.
Germantown had 20-30 businesses. There was a Shell Oil Gas Station on the northwest corner of Poplar and Germantown Road. On the northeast corner, you would find First Tennessee Bank, City Café, McHenry’s Hardware, Posey-Hedges Pharmacy, Liberty Cash Grocery, and Walker Machine Shop. Early on, the machine shop made fuses for hand grenades that were sent to Milan Arsenal in Milan, TN. Germantown had Liberty Cash Grocery, but Seessel’s, the closest grocery store of any size, was 6 miles west at Perkins and Poplar in Memphis.
In 1973, Lyle became involved in the community. He opened a dental office and moved into the apartments on the south side of Poplar, east of Kirby-Parkway. Lyle rented office space from Thane Smith in 1974 at 2121 Germantown Road S., next door to the Germantown Cleaners. It took time to get his own small business practice up and running. He said, “I’d see my two patients every month and then be done and get bored.” He filled his time by joining the Germantown Area Chamber, helping with the Collierville Herald, teaching, and enjoying hobbies.
From 1974 to 1985, he relocated his practice to a hill in a building that looked like a two-story home, on the southwest corner of Poplar and West. Lyle merged with another company there in 2004. In 2010, Lyle parted ways and moved back to his original location beside Germantown Cleaners. He has been in business in Germantown for close to 50 years and received an award from the city for being in business for more than 25 years.
Lyle was also involved with the Germantown Chamber of Commerce early on with Monty Stark, who ran a clothing store, developer Thane Smith and Rick Brillard, son of the owners of Seabrook Wall Coverings. When Lyle became President of the Chamber in 1975-1976, it meant he also had had the privilege of installing the chamber’s black phone in his office. When the phone would ring, it would be either for the chamber or his business. As President, he addressed the Board of Mayor and Alderman on the elimination of neon signs, directories to help citizens locate businesses in Germantown, and made the recommendation to have at least three people on the Design Review Commission who own and operate a business in Germantown. While the latter was not adopted, you may find that the composition of the present commission does adhere to much of Muller’s proposal. He also served as a vice-president with Kiwanis.
Lyle was Dental Director of the Arlington Development Center Dental Program and served on the Board of Directors for the American Association of Dental Consultants Annual Meeting. Lyle was President of the Germantown Arts Alliance for four years, an active member of Germantown United Methodist Church, and had a long-standing involvement with Germantown High School. He was also an original member of Leadership Germantown in 1966.
Lyle and his wife Mary, a University of Memphis graduate, were married in 1982. He and Mary bought the Carter family home built in the 50s on the southwest corner of Poplar and Carter’s Grove. Their son Lyle, II, earned his masters at Brown and his Ph.D. in France at the Sorbonne – Madame Cure Institute. He also practiced at the Saulk Institute in San Diego. He is now in London, Canada working in neuro research at the University of West Ontario.
Lyle says, “I came down here from St. Louis because I love small towns. The roots of Germantown’s charm have only deepened.”