ROBERT EARL “BOB” BAYS
October 24, 1936 ˜ July 8, 2020
Robert “Bob” Bays 83, long-time Woodland community member passed away on July 8, 2020 following a long battle with Parkinson’s disease
Bob was born in Stillwater, Oklahoma on October 24, 1936. The family migrated to Washington State in 1942 and settled in Kelso, Washington and later moved to Woodland.
Bob met Mary Ellen Blankenship as a child while attending Woodland Schools. Bob was active in Future Farmers of America and lettered all 4 years in Football and Music (Choir) at Woodland High School where he graduated in 1955. The high school sweethearts were married in Woodland on November 30, 1955.
Following High School Bob was drafted and served in the U.S. Army from 1959-61. He was in the Infantry and a member of the 2934 Military Police Company at Fort Ord, California. Bob served in the U.S. Army Corps Reserve from 1961-1965 with an Honorable Discharge as SP4 in October 1965. During this time Bob and Mary started their family and had three daughters Robin, Dana, and Ellen Candyce “Candy”.
Bob established Woodland Honda, a motorcycle dealership. Bob was a sponsor of professional Flat Track racing/racers. Bob operated Woodland Honda on I-5 frontage until he sold the business to family members.
Bob also operated an equipment rental business, R-B Rentals. Bob was a very competitive sponsor and coach of local Women’s Softball.
Bob completed the WSU Cooperative Extension Master Gardener program and served as a volunteer from 1988-1991 in Cowlitz/Clark counties. He was groundskeeper at Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens National Registered Historical Site and had several commercial accounts in Woodland.
Bob and Mary moved to Ariel where Mary was a U.S. Postmaster, following her diagnosis of Stage 4 Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. Mary passed away in May 1992. Bob remained in Ariel until moving to his retirement home in the Salmon Creek. Bob enjoyed singing Tenor in the church choir.
An avid music lover Bob attended many Southern Gospel concerts. Bob met Marilyn Fuller at a Gospel Sons Concert in January 2011. Bob was immediately smitten and they were married in June 2011. The couple enjoyed travels to Utah, Tennessee, Idaho and Georgia.
Bob and Marilyn were members of Liberty Bible Church in Salmon Creek and particularly enjoyed their Small Group Ministries. Bob was diagnosed with an aggressive form of Parkinson’s disease in 2012. Marilyn has remained a faithful and steadfast support throughout this illness process and Bob eagerly anticipated her daily visits. Rev. Dr. Steven “Fletch” Fletcher was also a regular visitor.
Bob moved to an Adult Family Home, Flowers Place, in Hazel Dell (Vancouver) in April 2016. They adopted Bob into their extended family and gave him wonderful care until he passed. The Bays Family is grateful for the dedication and professionalism of Denisa and Alex Mischian who were his primary caregivers.
Bob is survived by his wife Marilyn-Vancouver; daughters Robin Jones-Vancouver, Dana Middleton (Bill)-Woodland, Candy Koethe (Joel)-Kalama; bonus Daughter Cari DeVries-Gladstone, OR and his best friend Lester Greear-Ridgefield.
Grandchildren Jaime Jones-Wormley (Lin)-Johns Creek, GA; Brandon Counts (Heather)-Woodland; Katelyn Koethe (Tanner Willman)-Kalama; Samantha Minnick (Jeremy)-Longview; and Robby Middleton-Woodland. Great-Grandchildren: Luke Willman-Kalama, Robert Wynn-Longview, and Jeice Cooper-Woodland. Siblings Mona Godel-Woodland and Jim Bays (Sharlene)-Woodland. There are many nieces and nephews in Southwest WA and extended family members in Oklahoma.
Bob was preceded in death by wife Mary Ellen Bays, father Earl Bays, mother Nellie Bays, sister Dortha Tanner and brother Kenneth Bays.
A Service will be held graveside at Frank Abel Cemetery in Woodland at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, July 18, 2020. Social distancing and masks are required. Dress is casual, please bring your own lawn chair. Funeral arrangements are by Layne’s Battle Ground Funeral Home.
Donations in honor of Robert Bays may be made to the following non-profit organizations: Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens, Woodland or Open House Ministries-Vancouver.
Please sign his guest book @ www.columbian.com/obits