Genevieve Marie Byerly

September 8, 1914 ~ August 28, 2013

Genevieve Marie White Byerly was born Sept. 8, 1914, in Elbe, WA, and passed away Aug. 28, 2013, in Vancouver, WA. As a baby, she moved with her parents, Charles and Grace (Boling) White, and her older brother, Franklin, to Ridgefield, WA, where she lived most of her life. While attending and after graduating Ridgefield High School in 1932, Genevieve worked as one of the switchboard operators in town.
On July 14, 1937, she married Lester Byerly in what was then the Ridgefield Methodist Church.
She worked as a receptionist in Ft. Smith, AK, while her husband was stationed there in 1944. During his time in the European theater during WWII, Genevieve helped to run her family's restaurant in Amboy, WA. Upon her husband's return in 1946, they moved to the Seattle area where their only child, Pam, was born.
In 1949, the Byerly's returned to Ridgefield and ran Byerly's grocery and dry goods store until selling it in 1968. Her smile greeted every customer.
She was a member of the American Legion Auxiliary and VFW Auxiliary. Genevieve's hobbies included dancing, boating, golfing and gardening. She often spoke of the Ridgefield Dance Hall, Lotus Isle Peacock Ballroom and Portland's Crystal Ballroom she enjoyed in her "earlier days." During her illness this past winter, when physical therapists asked what she liked to do just for fun, she always answered dancing!
Gardening was the one hobby that continued through Genevieve's 97th year. The yard and garden she and Lester maintained between the Ridgefield schools on 5th Street from the late 40's until 1995 was a real showplace. Teachers from the grade school next door would take their classes to the Byerly's in order to show the students what a real palm tree looked like. In recent years neighbors kiddingly complained that Genevieve was coming into their yards to rake leaves. Genevieve's response was those leaves probably came from her trees and she was responsible for them! Younger generations were always amazed at her vitality and energy.
While Genevieve traveled through all 50 states and many foreign countries from Thailand to Russia with her husband after retirement, her real joy was in her family and friends and what she could do for others. She cared for her own parents for many years, as well as for her brother. She loved being a mother and grandma. Together she and her husband, helped raise her nephew, Gary White, who eventually became the caregiver of his beloved wife. She also was an influence in her other nieces' and nephews' lives. Ultimately though, her husband, Lester, was the one who most benefited from her caring, giving, generous spirit. Genevieve rarely left his side. That is the picture most friends and family will remember. Lester and Genevieve together again.
Genevieve is survived by her daughter, Pam and son-in-law, Don Evans; grandson, Matthew Byerly Michener; great-grandson, Logan Michener, and great-granddaughter, Byerly A. Michener.
Her husband, Lester, predeceased her in 2006.
Services will be held at the Ridgefield Community United Methodist Church, 1410 S Hillhurst, Ridgefield, WA, Sept. 10 at 11:00 a.m. with luncheon following. Private interment at the Ridgefield Pioneer Cemetery.
Please sign her guestbook at:


Published in The Columbian on Sept. 6, 2013