Obituaries – Feb. 15, 2023

Debbie Clymer

September 25, 1950- January 25, 2023

Sequim resident, Debbie Parish Clymer, passed away peacefully in her home on January 25, 2023; she was 72 years old.

In the months and weeks prior to her death, she was lovingly cared for by friends who tended to her personal needs, gave her Reiki, sang to her, or just came to spend time with her and be regaled with her many interesting stories. She was deeply appreciative of these friends, and the amazing staff from Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County for their compassionate care.

Debbie was born on September 25, 1950, and raised on a farm in Peru, Indiana. She was highly intelligent and excelled in her studies in high school, received her bachelor’s and degrees at two different Universities, and was awarded a PhD in Speech Disorders from Purdue University. Dr. Clymer was a practicing speech therapist for over 40 years. For a time she was also a professor at the University of Colorado Denver, and she spent time teaching and working with people with speech disorders in Germany and Ecuador.

She was especially tuned into children and loved coming up with creative ways to find and foster the best in them, getting some children who had never uttered a word to speak for the first time ever, in her presence.

Being a mother of young children was one of Debbie’s favorite jobs. She loved telling them bedtime stories – often about her own childhood – and enjoyed hosting birthday parties and other celebrations. She made costumes and set up props for her children and their friends to play games and fulfil their fun fantasies.

Her son, Kyle, was a talented and accomplished athlete throughout his school years; Debbie was proud of him and tried to attend all of his school competitions or games.

Those who cared for her at the end of her life got to see photographs of the many exciting things she helped her kids do, including Kyle playing soccer and surfing, and the whole family shooting the rapids on the Colorado River through the Grand Canyon.

While married, Debbie and her family did quite a bit of traveling, but after a divorce and with the kids grown and gone, she began traveling more extensively. She visited 55 countries – far too many to list here – and often brought her speech therapy supplies to work with children and adults, even if there was a language barrier. She climbed to the base camp of Mt Everest, visited and was the first American to participate in “glacier school” in Norway, rode horseback across Ireland, visited India, China, Japan, Bhutan, Australia and New Zealand, and several countries in East Asia. She went on a safari in Botswana, lived in a yurt in Mongolia and watched young riders participate in a grueling horse race that took her breath away and brought tears to her eyes.

Always up for adventure, Debbie once booked a dog-sledding trip with a private guide in remote Alaska. The guide was so impressed with Debbie’s connection with one of his sled dogs that he offered the dog to her as she was preparing to head home. He personally delivered the dog – named Piper – to her a few months later. Owning and caring for Piper brought her great joy.

Some years after he died, she got a new puppy – a labradoodle that she named Saga, meaning “a long complex or heroic story,” and she took him on a few adventures, including camping in the Olympic National Forest, and training him to run alongside her while she pedaled her bike.

In her last days, she was delighted to know that Saga would continue his story by going to live with her son, Kyle.

An almost fearless and very devout Christian, Debbie was extremely grateful to God for a life well-lived. Having been athletic and active her entire life, she struggled mightily with the physical limitations that her disease – vascular Parkinsonism – presented her with. As she neared the end of her life she had no doubt that she would soon be joining her beloved Jesus in heaven. She was a fan of Biblical quotes – the last words she heard were those of Psalm 23 being read to her – and she collected inspiring quotes from a variety of sources.

One of Debbie’s favorite quotes was from Maya Angelou, and the words guided much of her life: “Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but the moments that take our breath away.”

Debbie is survived by her son, Kyle Parish; daughter, Katie Mueller; sister, Jan Clymer; and brother, Daniel Clymer. Throughout her life she volunteered where she could, generously donated to charities, and gave many gifts to many people – right up to the end. If you are so inclined, you can donate in her memory to one of her favorite organizations: Volunteer Hospice of Clallam County, Lois’s Legacy and The Living Water Project.

Jeffrey Robert Johnson

8/29/1960 — 1/16/2023

Jeffrey Johnson

Jeffrey Johnson

Jeff Johnson, a 62 year old resident of Sequim passed away January 16 2023 due to cancer.

He was born to Frederick Robert Johnson and Joyce Agnes Rose Johnson in Inglewood CA, on August 29, 1960.

Jeff lived in Gardena CA and Temple City CA then moved to Sequim WA.

His first job was working for BMW distributing parts to the west coast dealers. He then joined Wicks Furniture as a warehouse manager.

After moving to the Olympic Peninsula Jeff was hired as a clerk working for Safeway in Sequim from 2011 until his passing.

He loved the people he worked with and also the customers who knew him by his first name.

Jeff belonged to the following organizations American Federation of Motorcyclists, American Road Racing Association and National Rifle Association.

In his early years he was on a competition dart team, competed in motorcycle road races, enjoyed Taekwondo and Western Boxing.

Jeff’s hobbies were assembling buildings and landscape scenes for his HO scale railroad layout. He was an avid PC gamer. Jeff’s most joyous hobby was collecting decorations for the Christmas season and putting up outdoor Christmas lights.

He is survived by his father, Frederick Robert Johnson; sister Lori Ann (David Christopher) Shuck; niece Allison Lauren Shuck and fiancee Roland Trey Weber.

Melissa Dean Smith

Melissa (“Missy”) Dean Smith, a Jamestown S’Klallam Tribe member, died of cancer at her Sequim home, surrounded by family, on Feb. 5, 2023.

She was 44.

Smith was born July 18, 1978.

A celebration of life will be announced at a later date.

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