Byron James “Duff” Womer, 76, passed peacefully on Tuesday, Aug. 15, 2023, at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Tacoma, Washington.
Byron was born on Nov. 14, 1946, in Aberdeen, Washington to Donald Newton and Margaret (Lentz) Womer. Duff or Duffy, as his family and close friends knew him by, lived in Aberdeen until the 7th grade. It was then that he and his parents moved to Quinault to be closer to their family business, “Womer Brother’s Logging.” He graduated from Quinault High School in 1965 and then attended Western Washington University in Bellingham for a year before returning to Quinault and enrolling at Grays Harbor College. In 1967, he joined the United States Air Force where he worked as an Air Traffic Controller. It was during his time in the Air Force that he married Gloria Jean Lightburn on Aug. 3, 1968, in Aberdeen, Washington. He was honorably discharged from the Air Force in 1971, and returned to Grays Harbor. He worked, and was a shareholder at Hoquiam Plywood until he retired after 40 years.
Byron dedicated over 20 years to the United Christian Church in Aberdeen, where he was an elder and chairman of the board. He was also a member of the Aberdeen Pioneer Association, Grays Harbor Banjo Band and Grays Harbor Bowmen.
Byron had a love for model trains which began when his parents gave him one at the age of 6. His love for model trains continued throughout his life. He paid great attention to detail displaying his train and Christmas Village under the tree every year, and took pride in being able to share that joy and love with his children and grandchildren. He made sure that all his children had a train of their own to put under their tree as well, a tradition that will be sure to be passed down through the generations. Byron’s hobbies throughout his life included hunting, camping, fishing, clam digging, playing the accordion, stained glass artwork, picking blackberries (he could be gone for hours), and working in his yard and garden. The last few years he enjoyed fishing with his children and grandchildren. His son-in-law always made sure he knew when the fish were biting, and they spent many a day together fishing the upper Wishkah River.
Byron is survived by his wife of 55 years, Gloria Jean Womer, of Aberdeen; daughters: Karla Eilers, of Aberdeen, and Marcia “Marci” (Mark) Nations, of the Wishkah Valley; son, Christopher Womer, of Aberdeen; son-in-law, Bradley Eilers; grandchildren: Teagan (Dillon) Mitchell, Xander Eilers, Jaxon Eilers, Maddox Eilers, Vivienne Womer and Audra Womer; step-grandchildren: Trista Mitchell, Sierra Nations and Parker Nations; great -grandson, Camden Mitchell; half-brothers: Johnny Krawchook, of Olympia; Rick and Ron Winberg, both of Aberdeen; and half-sister, Judy Guernsey, of Edgewood.
Byron was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Margaret Womer, and his half-sister, Mary Fisher.
There will be a funeral service for Bryon on Sunday, Oct. 1, 2023, at United Christian Church, 300 W. 1st Street, Aberdeen at 1 p.m. A potluck and reception will follow at The Aberdeen Elks. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the United Christian Church Memorial Fund.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Twibell’s Fern Hill Funeral Home in Aberdeen, Washington.