Julie Katherine Wyckoff-ByersJanuary 16, 1948 ~ August 7, 2017 (age 69)
Julie Wyckoff Byers’ most defining quality was her love of her children and the art of being a parent. She was at her happiest as a mother and took joy in anything related to her two kids, Ben and Nicole. This love of children extended beyond her own, as giddy excitement to hold a baby, any baby, was one thing many will remember her for. As a wife, she was supportive, loving, non-judgmental, and loyal. She married Ron Byers on September 12th, 1976 at Camp Crestview in the Columbia River Gorge.
Julie brought the fullness of herself to her marriage and role as a mother. She will always be remembered for her ability to live her life in the moment. She didn’t fret about the past; she laughed about it. She didn’t worry about the future; she gave her all to the right here and now. It is no surprise then that one of her favorite things was dancing to the music she loved. At concerts, she was often the only person up and dancing. Ater she nursed her kids, she burped them as she danced around the room.
She loved gardening, flowers especially, and hands in the dirt. Many of the family and friends in her life have the quilts that she made, especially as baby blankets for new arrivals. She was a classic Northwest gal; she loved hiking, biking, picking berries and baking them into pies. Her Huckleberry and Apple pies were famous additions to the holiday table. She cherished books, and was an avid reader. She especially loved to discuss the books she read, and participated in a number of book groups over the years.
Perhaps more than any other quality, she will be remembered for her ability to laugh. She would laugh until she cried. She would laugh at the same old joke. She’d laugh at your stories. She had the amazing ability to laugh at herself better than anyone we’ve ever known. It was one of the ways she made you feel safe with her; she had no pretensions about herself and her laughter always made you feel at home.
Julie was born on January 16th, 1948 to Tom Wyckoff and Maxine Lewis Wyckoff, and grew up in Rainier, Oregon. She attended church with her family and played piano and sang in the choir. She was the second oldest of four children, with two brothers, Jeff and Todd, and one sister, Rachael. They grew up in the house that their father had built for his family, along with many others in the small town. She would live there through high school until she moved to Portland to attend Lewis and Clark College starting in 1966, where she majored in French. She spent her senior year studying abroad in Aix en Provence, France, at the Institute of French Studies for Foreign Students, including classes at the Universite’ D’ Aix-Marseille. Her love of everything French was something she would carry with her throughout her life.
Julie was a kind and empathetic person. These qualities were ideal for raising her kids and supporting her husband. No one was afraid to bring sensitive issues to her and discuss them openly. Her philosophy for raising kids was to give them “lots and lots and lots of love, but take no sh-t.” Primarily she made sure that homelife was positive, fun, and where you wanted to be. She was happiest when the family was together.
Julie was passionate and talented in her work. She eventually became the Director of Workforce Development at Portland Community College, where for many years she was responsible for all workforce programs in Washington County. She was well respected both at PCC and in the broader Washington County community. Her legacy is that she truly made a difference in the lives of many families through her work. She’s known to have told her kids “I don’t care if you are at my funeral, but you can’t skip my retirement party” because she wanted them to know who she was outside of the home and how proud she was of her work.
Julie died on August 7th, 2017 at 7:30am from complications of Alzheimer’s disease in her room at the memory care facility of Hawthorne Gardens in Portland. Her family wants to recognize the loving care the staff there, along with Housecall Hospice Providers, gave Julie in her final months. When caregiving by her husband was no longer enough to support her needs, they welcomed her, played her music to dance to, and gave her a community to be a part of. She died peacefully thanks to their excellent care and attention.