Marian F. Byse
Marian F. Byse
  • February 26, 1946 - September 11, 2011
  • Port Angeles, Washington

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Marian McEwan Fisken Byse
February 26, 1946 - September 11, 2011

Marian McEwan Fisken Byse of Port Angeles died in a bicycle accident on state highway 112 on September 11, 2011. She was 65 and doing one of the things she loved to do: pedal her bike out in the country between her home west of Port Angeles and the YMCA.

Marian would go to the Y, do some weight training and then bicycle home to work in her garden on the bluff overlooking the Strait of Juan de Fuca. She was devoted to growing vegetables and flowers and loved to share her harvest with all of her friends, many of whom she met while teaching the Active Older Adults class at the Y.

Over the past many years, she connected with all kinds of people at the Y, from the AOA students, who nicknamed her "Sarge", to the rest of her "fitness friends" around the gym.

Marian was born in Longview, Washington, on February 26, 1946, grew up in Tacoma, Washington, and went to the Bush School in Seattle. She attended Scripps College in Claremont, California, where she played tennis every chance she got.

Marian transferred to the University of Washington, where she studied German until her graduation in 1970. While a graduate student in anthrolopogy at Washington State University, she went to work on the Ozette archeological dig at Cape Alava where, in 1974, she met the man who would become her husband.

Marian and James Byse married on March 29, 1980, and honeymooned on Stubbs Island off Tofino, British Columbia. The couple returned there many times in their 31 years of marriage.

Marian planted gardens everywhere she and Jim lived: on a flat bank near the beach at Cape Alava, in Clallam Bay and then in Port Angeles, each time where people told her nothing would grow. She loved picking all those fresh delicious vegetables.

Marian also loved to run, in marathons and in other races including the Rhody Run, the Chimacum Challenge, the Sequim Run-Off, the Seattle Marathon and the Victoria Marathon. She was race director for the Derby Days run in Port Angeles and volunteered at lots of events over the years, from the North Olympic Discovery Marathon to the Port Angeles Senior Games.

What was important to Marian was to encourage people to do thier best. She liked to see people challenge themselves and grow fitter because she knew how fitness meant a high-quality life.

Marian had her own challenges, including back and leg pain, but when she was on her bicycle, that pain was gone. She did the Cherry Hill bike ride on Bainbridge Island, the Seattle-to-Portland, Oregon, ride, and many others, all while encouraging other cyclists of all levels to seek their best.

When a woman friend from the YMCA told Marian she didn't think she would ever make it over a particularly steep hill, Marian told her: "Pedal up to that place where you can't go any farther and take one more pedal past it. Keep doing that, and if you give up, I'll come after you."

In February 2010, Marian suffered many serious injuries in a bicycle accident and chose to go home, not to a facility, for her rehabilitation. She stuck to a weight-training regimen at the Y, and when the Y was closed. she worked out at Fitness West in Port Angeles. She got back into shape and got back on her bicycle for many long rides.

With her smile and lighthearted greetings and with her obvious pleasure in being active in her garden, on her bike or in her classes at the Y, Marian showed us how to enjoy life.

Arrangements under the direction of Jessica Eshom-Hampton of Harper Ridgeview Funeral Chapel, Port Angeles, WA.