Obituaries — April 10, 2019

Joyce Provost Wheeler

January 26, 1941 – March 21, 2019

Joyce Provost Wheeler, my wife of 56 years, passed away at 9:45 PM, March 21, sitting beside me in her rocking chair in the living room of our cottage on the family farm. Our son, Morgan, could not revive her with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. Tears were streaming down his cheeks.

She died of Alzheimer’s disease. She was 78, born in Hawaii, January 26, 1941. She was a survivor of the attack on Pearl Harbor, December 7, 1941. Her dad was a highly decorated navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps. Her mom was a school teacher. I met Joyce at a meeting of the Student Peace Union, at the University of Washington, where we were both enrolled. She graduated from UW in 1963, the same year we were married.

I am remembering that back in 2005, Joyce and I strolled out across the alfalfa field of the farm. “Why don’t we build something, a home we can live in when we visit?” she asked me.

As we drove through Carlsborg, that day, Joyce spotted a charming little house with a yellow rose in the front yard. Posted on the front door was a sign, “Make An Offer. Must Be Moved.” It had the most rudimentary bathroom, caving away at the back, logs for a foundation, long since devoured by powder post beetles. It had been the home of Mrs. Bates, the postmaster of Carlsborg.

We bought it for $1,500 and had it moved three miles downriver to our place and put on cribs. Our carpenter rebuilt it to Joyce’s exacting specifications adding a bathroom, laundry room, and large master bedroom—-all designed by her. It was our home for 12 years.

Mornings, we often sipped coffee together, marveling at the golden sunlight glinting on the snowy Olympics across our farm. Joyce loved to weed the flower beds with that sweeping view. I regret that Joyce would come in and plead with me to join her in the garden. Too often, I replied, “OK, OK maybe in a few minutes.”

Joyce was a superlative elementary classroom teacher, for 37 years, in Baltimore; an outspoken member of the Baltimore Teachers Union. She was a trained ballet dancer. We loved to dance. She had a droll wit. She spoke in a bell-like voice and also enjoyed singing folk songs, even if she couldn’t quite carry a tune.

She was a loving wife, a devoted mother of our three children, proud grandmother of seven grandchildren and three great grandchildren. She was proud that our grandchildren are multi-racial, African American and white. All of us are grieving that she suffered so much in her final years as her memory slipped away, ravaged by Alzheimer’s disease.

Over the decades, Joyce demonstrated for racial equality, world peace, against gun violence, against Trump border walls, and for reuniting children with their immigrant moms and dads when the youngsters were snatched by ICE agents. She also stood for health care for all, more research to find cures for Alzheimer’s, less money squandered on weapons of mass destruction. She often wore a button, “I Love Obamacare.”

She rejoiced when the North Olympic Land Trust preserved our land as “farmland forever.”

She doorbelled to help elect Barack Obama president and last October for Mike Doherty for County Commissioner. In 2015, Clallam Democrats chose Joyce and her family “Democrats of the Year.” In her memory, please contribute to the Bright Focus Foundation Alzheimer Research or the North Olympic Land Trust.

— Tim Wheeler

Karl Grant “Woody” Woodson

October 13, 1934 – March 19, 2019

Karl Grant “Woody” Woodson, 84, died 19 March 2019, at Virginia Mason Hospital, Seattle, after complications from a heart attack. He had been living in Sequim since 2003. He was preceded in death, in 2013, by his devoted wife of 59 years, Barbara Ellen Alexander Woodson. His older brother, David Douglas Woodson, also preceded him in death, in Florida, in 2001.

He is survived by his younger brother, Bruce A. Woodson, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania; a step-mother, Jayne Woodson, Cedar Rapids, Iowa; and by his twin sons and daughter-in-law, Andrew B. Woodson and Marnie C. Woodson, Sequim, and John W. Woodson, Phoenix, Arizona. He has seven grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. Cremation and pre-interment services were performed at Sequim Valley Funeral Chapel, in Sequim.

Woody was born October 13, 1934, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, to parents Beryl Clarence and Adelaide Marie Shors Woodson. He graduated from the 1953 class of Franklin High School, in Cedar Rapids, and joined the U.S. Navy for four years soon after. Woody was stationed onboard the light cruiser, USS Los Angeles (CA-135), attaining the rank of First Class Petty Officer in just four years, with a collateral duty of Master-At-Arms for the ship. USS Los Angeles sailed into combat during the Korean War efforts.

Woody met the love of his life, Barbara, while stationed in the Long Beach area. They married November 19, 1955, after just three months of courtship, and settled in southern California. Woody then earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Education from Cal State University – Los Angeles, and he began a teaching career that spanned 37 valuable years. He finished his Master’s Degree in Educational Arts from California State University – Los Angeles, in June 1969. They adopted six-week old boys, John and Andrew, in California, in November, 1963.

Following the 1973 school year, in Mission Viejo, California, Woody and Barbara decided to leave the big city with the boys and seek to live off the land together. They moved to Dayton, Wyoming, that summer, where Woody started teaching welding shop at Sheridan High School, in Wyoming, a position he held from 1974 until retirement in 1993. They found 12 acres east of Sheridan near Wyarno, WY, and shop teacher Woody built an entire state-of-the-art, five-bedroom house from scratch, including a swimming pool and several outbuildings, and included flower and vegetable gardens.

Woody also worked summers for the U.S. Forest Service during the school breaks, as well as baling hay on his land, other ranches and working nine miles of right-of-way hay along Highway 336 just outside Sheridan to Wyarno. He always found time to hunt and fish in the Big Horn Mountains and local hills and streams. The family lived and worked at this location until 2003.

Woody and Barbara began a retirement life of traveling in an RV, buying a new home on Elk Loop, on W. Sequim Bay Road. After Barbara’s death in late 2013, Woody continued to RV to see his boys in the Big Horn Mountains and in Phoenix until 2017, when back problems began to curtail his RV travels. His son and daughter-in-law moved from Montana to be near him his last 15 months.

Woody’s remains will be interred next to his wife at Tahoma National Cemetery with full veteran colors in Kent, April 12th, starting at 9:30 AM. A Celebration-of-Life luncheon will follow at the KSQM-FM Conference Room at 609 W. Washington, Suite 17, in Sequim, starting at 2:00 PM. All that knew him and his wife are welcome to attend.

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