Teunis James Wyers, Jr. “TJ” “Teun” passed away on Aug. 26, 2019, at his home surrounded by family in White Salmon. Teunis was born in Hood River, Ore., on April 4, 1946, and was 73 years of age at the time of his passing.
Teunis was born to Teunis, Sr. and Lucile Annette Bachman Wyers. It was a beautiful spring day. TJ was the third and youngest child, nine years younger than his brother, Jan; and 11 years younger than his sister, Karen.
According to his sister Karen, when TJ was about 4 and she was 14 she would take him to the swimming pool. Many times, they walked. The road to the pool wasn’t paved yet. Karen’s friends all really liked him. They would set him on the counter at the pool and try to teach him how to cuss. Then Karen would put him in the baby pool. When she went back to check on him, he always had some little girl or two that he’d gotten to talk to him.
In his youth, he got a motorcycle, his dad fought him on that every step of the way, but it didn’t run very often. He spent most of the time that he had it repairing it. So, his dad was really happy about that. He wouldn’t give him a car because he said “a bunch of teenagers in a car was dangerous”. By the time TJ started dating, the family had both a pickup and a car. When Teun really got it into his head that he was going to have to date in that gold pick-up, he fixed up that car, cleaned it up, fixed it up inside and out, washed and waxed it. He even got a leopard skin patterned cover for the steering wheel, and what was called a “necking nob,” a small nob attached to the steering wheel so you could drive with one hand.
During his high school years, he worked on the the Kreps Ranch bucking hay during the summer. This is where he first met his wife, Pat. After graduating high school in 1964, he moved to Eugene to study Sociology at the University of Oregon, where he joined the Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity and was known as “the life of the party.”
He dropped out of college around 1966 and returned home to work. During that time, he held various jobs in the Gorge, including at a grocery store located at the present-day NAPA Auto Parts. This is where he met his first wife Barbara when she was out grocery shopping with her mother. During those two intervening years he decided to join the US Navy. TJ used to tell the story of how his father talked him out of joining the marines. A wise choice since this was pre-Vietnam, and he most certainly would have been either wounded or killed in that war had he persisted in his original plan to train to be on the front lines.
Teunis married Barbara Ann Clemmons on May 25, 1968, at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Hood River, Ore. He then completed his military training he transitioned to becoming an enlisted service member. Barbara went to business school in Portland, Ore., during the first six months of his time in the military, then joined him in New London, Conn., where he was stationed at the time. They lived there for a year and a half. The time in Connecticut concluded his military experience with an honorable discharge US Navy in 1972 as an E5. He and Barbara packed up their things and drove back to Hood River in their 1970 VW Beetle. They broke down in Laramie, Wyo., where the entire engine had to be replaced before they could continue their journey.
Once back in Oregon, TJ took advantage of the GI Bill and completed his education at University of Oregon. During those summers they would come up to Hood River and work in her father’s cherry orchard, staying in a one room cabin at his parent’s place on Windswept. After graduating from U of O, he continued on to law school at Lewis and Clark College, completing in 1976. TJ passed the bar exam one month before his father died in the summer of ‘76. They then moved back to Hood River so that TJ could take over his father’s law practice. The office was on 3rd Street between Oak and Cascade. He married Sheila Mortenson in 1981.
Teunis was an Attorney at Law in Hood River from 1976 to 2019 and in Bingen from 2010 to 2019. This was a very important part of Teunis’ life. Getting work out that his clients requested in a timely matter was always at the top of his list, whether estate planning, wills, or whatever it may have been. This is what kept him going into work every week, and he enjoyed it so much.
After a couple of years hanging out together, Teunis and Pat married July 31, 1993, at Pat’s parent’s park in Husum (FORT RUN-A-MUCK). Not long after this, Teunis sold his house in Hood River and he and Teunis G. moved up to the ranch in Gilmer Valley. Teunis had worked there bucking hay the summer of 1963 prior to his senior year of High School at Wy’East.
Not long after moving to the ranch, Teunis and Pat joined the local chapter of Back Country Horsemen of Washington. This broadened their horse travels and adventures. Eventually this led to several week-long trips into the Eagle Cap Wilderness Area in Northeastern Oregon. The art of keeping the packs balanced and upright on the pack animals was a real learning experience. We got a lot of advice from some of the veteran packers, and the process did work. Teunis and Pat went to The Netherlands and the Island of Guernsey (Channel Islands) visited Clem just a few years ago.
Teunis was an avid hunter. His last big hunt took him to northern British Columbia, where he brought home a moose and caribou. Both heads were mounted and hang proudly in his home. He enjoyed horseback riding and packing: TJ’s love for packing horses began in childhood. Most summers, the family took their annual trip to the Eagle Caps in the Wallowa Mountains in Eastern Oregon. Everything was packed in on horseback to a riverside campsite where they spend their time fishing and enjoying total immersion in the wilderness. TJ and his wife Pat traveled by horseback into the Eagle Caps together at least five separate times.
TJ was an expert auto mechanic and had a hobby restoring antique cars. At one time he even raced a stock car with his buddy Kevin Hay, where TJ drove the number 23 car for “Hay Wire Racing.” Pat shared “stock car racing for a few years in the early 90s with friends. Competing on the weekends, then a couple of nights after work during the week straightening dents and tuning the engine so we could do it all over again. Never did win the “Big Prize,” but had a hell of a lot of fun!
Teunis’ shop was a source of many projects that he loved to do. Fixing tools, organizing supplies and parts, putting new handles in pitchforks, shovels, or about anything that someone broke. He loved taking something broken and making it useful again. Mr. Fix It!
Teunis joined the White Salmon Chamber of Commerce in the late 1990s and they sponsored a Community Pride clean-up. It continues to occur every May. He took great pride in organizing and participating in this event. He was also a member of the White Sal-mon–Bingen Rotary Club that sponsors many worthwhile events too. He enjoyed working with this great group of people.
Teunis is survived by his wife, Pat Kreps Wyers, White Salmon, who shared “I am grateful for the time we had together, but will miss him very much”; daughters, Johanna Katherine Wyers of Portland, Ore., and Darcy Lefebvre of Portland, Ore.; sons, Teunis Gerbrand Wyers of Hood River, Ore., and Randy Wyers of Hood River, Ore.; granddaughter, Lilliana Wyers of Hood River, Ore.; step-children and step-grandchildren, Jill Kreps, Kelly Kreps and his son Keifer Kreps, Kris Kreps and his children Kevin Kreps and Kacie, Keith Kreps and his children Ryan Kreps and Tanya; siblings, Jan Wyers, Karen Robertson; nieces, Giselle Wyers Rice and Juliette Wyers, children of Jan Wyers and Judy Merz; Beth Weis, daughter of Karen Robertson and Woody Easley; nephews: Martin Easley, son of Karen Robertson and Woody Easley; and pets, there have been many, but at the time of his death, Maggie the border collie, cats Rhubarb and Cinder, and mules Buddy and Sis.
He was preceded in death by his father Teunis Wyers Sr. in 1976; mother, Lucille Annette Bachman in 2014; grandmother, Luella Betsy Shaw; grandfather, Jon Gerbrand Wyers when TJ was a child, the family would visit grandpa Jon on Sundays. TJ really made grandpa Jon’s day. They just loved each other. They would go out and feed the chickens and feed the doves in the cages, and pick veggies from the garden.
Teunis was a life-long resident of The Columbia River Gorge with deep connections to both sides of the river so there are two services to honor his life and mourn his passing and friends are invited to attend one or the other, or both. Hood River, 5:30 p.m., Thursday, Sept. 19, Anderson’s Tribute Center 1401 Belmont Avenue; White Salmon, 1 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 22, Tin Roof Barn, 984 State Route 141 White Salmon.
Memorials are encouraged to be made in memory of Teunis to either the Bingen-White Salmon Rotary, or Mt. Adams Resource Stewards
Special thank you to Ruth Chausse, Jack Trumbull, Bobbi’s Way, Providence Hospice Group, Lorrie Knowles, Barbara Burdick, Tim Willis, Jay McLaughlin, Dale Connell, Boda’s Kitchen, Talia Kreps, Tin Roof Barn.
Arrangements are under the direction of Anderson’s Tribute Center. Visit www.AndersonsTributeCenter.com to leave a note of condolence for the family.