Fred Douglas Byers, who was known for his dignified presence and dry humor, died peacefully at his Offut Lake home on October 1, 2018 surrounded by his family. He lived to be 71 years old. He died from a liver disease called Primary Sclerosing Cholangitis.
Fred is survived by his wife of 34 years, Debra (Hill) Byers; their two children, Ross and Reed Byers, as well as their partners, Brittany Matter and Jennifer Harrington respectively; and his sister, Joan Byers.
Fred was born in Seattle, Washington to Don and Victoria (Monson) Byers on July 29, 1947. He grew up in Tenino, Washington, graduating from Tenino High School in 1965 and afterward, attended Centralia College and the University of Washington. In between his time at school, he worked at his father’s Western Auto hardware store and their Tenino furniture store. After managing the store, Fred’s government career began in 1977 where he worked as a Financial Manager at the Washington State Liquor Control Board for 30 years.
His sister, Joan, set him up on a blind date with Debra Hill in the summer of 1982. Fred and Debra were married in 1984 at Lacey Community Church. They raised two sons and Fred shared his love of building projects, golfing, fishing, and shooting with them.
Fred was an avid reader of fiction and enjoyed crime series, westerns, and mystery novels. Over the course of his life, he read hundreds of books by favorite authors Lee Child, Robert Parker, Louis L’Amour, and John Sanford. Alongside his zeal for reading, his passion for building things led him to amass a tool collection that is not easily rivaled. With those tools, Fred spearheaded many projects that involved gathering family and friends to work together. As the Straw Boss, he provided directives and quoted from one of his favorite Western films, The Good, The Bad and The Ugly: “There are those with guns and those who dig. You dig.” Some of his proudest accomplishments included building things for his home: docks, decks, ramps, a pier, and a fence to name a few. He was a “measure twice, cut once” kind of guy.
He spent his retirement as a snowbird with Debra in Casa Grande, Arizona, playing golf, Pegs & Jokers, water volleyball, and pickle ball. He enjoyed woodworking and made bottle stoppers, pens, and cutting boards as gifts for many people. While at home, he played poker on a regular basis with a group of friends, some of whom went back more than 50 years. He also loved listening to blues music and shopping at secondhand stores.
As the eldest and well respected male member of the family, Fred was dubbed the Silver Back and accepted the nickname with pride. Fred's family asks that, instead of flowers or gifts, donations be made to the American Liver Foundation whose vision is a world without liver disease.