Monica Lyons
Monica Lyons

Obituary of Monica Lyons


Memories Eternalize Us.


Monica Lyons -

the best wife and mother in the whole wide world


July 20, 1944 – August 2, 2022


Let me tell you about my wife, Monica, the woman I loved for over a half a century.  She was a beautiful, intelligent and wise lady.  She loved her family and would have laid her life down for any one of us.  She was the cornerstone of my life and, somehow, I’ll survive.  Setting aside my grief, Monica’s story began 74 years ago in Waldwick, New Jersey.


Helen Kolodziej gave birth to Monica with her father, John Kolodziej, anxiously awaiting the delightful news.  She was dearly prized and loved by her parents.  Two years passed and her mother and father provided Monica a baby brother named after his father, nicknamed Little John.  Monica grew up in Waldwick, New Jersey.  Both of her parents were entrepreneurs, each owning a furniture store, working five or six days a week.  Cha-cha, a distant relative from Poland, raised Monica and Little John through grade school and middle school.  Upon the passing of Cha-cha, Monica prepared weekday dinner meals for her family until going off to college.  Her mother was a role model for Monica’s independence and can-do approach to life. 


Playing dolls wasn’t for Monica; she was a tom-boy.  She couldn’t understand why she couldn’t play Little League Baseball.  After all, she was better than most of the boys.  Heaven help any bully attacking her baby brother; she unleashed furious aggression against the bully.  Monica’s childhood experiences and lessons forged her personality and values.  She taught her surviving son and deceased daughter, John and Marisa, to never give up and let no one put limitations on what you’re capable of achieving. 


After graduating from Waldwick High School, Monica attended Moorhead State teacher college, graduating with Bachelor of Arts in Education and a major in Health Education.  Monica met her husband, Mike Lyons, in February 1970, while attending Moorhead State University, in a blizzard stranded in a gas station restaurant in Rothsay, Minnesota.  She was traveling with girlfriends after spending the weekend at one of the girlfriend’s homes.  Mike was traveling to Seattle, Washington, after being discharged from the Army at Fort Dix, New Jersey.  In 1970, the Viet Nam War was in full force and Monica vehemently protested the war with her little dog, Pookie.  She vowed never to marry an Army man, especially one who fought in Viet Nam.  As it so happened, Mike, a first lieutenant in the U.S. Army, fought in Viet Nam.  Monica also participated in the women's liberation movement marches of the ‘70s.  She continued supporting women’s equal rights through her entire life.  After a whirlwind courtship, Monica married Mike February 14, 1971, at Sheppard Lake, New Jersey, settling in Vancouver, Washington, and finally moving to Olympia, Washington, in 1977.


Monica played slow pitch softball and soccer, skied, hiked, fished and enjoyed camping in the comfort of a trailer.  She was an outdoor woman.


Monica worked her entire life modeling her mother’s work ethic. In the ‘80s and ‘90s, sexually transmitted diseases were on the rise nationally, fueled by the introduction of HIV.  Monica worked 30 years for Thurston County Health Department as Lead Sexually Transmitted Disease Investigator, educating adolescents in avoidance of sexually transmitted diseases.  Two thirds of her career was spent in Thurston County public schools, teaching sexuality.  She had a radio show Saturday morning on KGY where individuals called and asked Monica health-related sex questions. The name of the program was “Ask Monica.”  It was common to go to the mall and hear high school students blurt out, “There’s the sex lady.”  Monica was a celebrity in the community among the youth.  Monica made a difference in the lives of Thurston County youth.


I frequently said meeting Monica was the luckiest day of my life; we married for eternity.  After Monica entered memory care, I wrote a poetry book dedicated to Monica, immortalizing my love for her.  The book is entitled “Living Poetry for Today.”  Poetry became the vehicle I used to deal with the long emotional goodbye that Alzheimer’s represents.  To obtain a copy of “Living Poetry for Today,” go to, Kindle Books and enter Michael P. Lyons.




If you should die before me

a piece of me dies too.


Please walk slowly.

For I want to walk with you.


Stop frequently and look behind.

For I want to walk with you.


Stop and listen for me calling your name.

For I want to walk with you.


When I catch up to you

Embrace me and take my hand.

We will finish the walk side by side.




No funeral services are planned.


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