Jeffrey Alan Hoyt passed away on November 7, 2020, at his home in Centerville, Washington.
Jeff was born to Jay and Lilian Hoyt, the third of six children, on October 21,1951, in Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Jeff was a beloved son, husband, father, brother, uncle, and friend to so many.
Jeff and his wife Lynn recently moved from Lyle to their dream home on the south-facing hills of Centerville. On this plateau above the Columbia River, they built the horse ranch they’d been dreaming of for such a long time. Jeff seemed poised to finally retire and rest from his labors.
Those labors include starting out as a young man as a fire fighter during Oregon summers. Then, with great ambition he studied Creative Writing at Carnegie Mellon University and attended the University of Montana where he majored in Chemistry. Jeff earned a Masters Degree in Quality Engineering from Cal State Northridge. He began a career in process management as a chemical engineer at Precision Cast Parts in Milwaukee, Oregon. Several jobs would find him perfecting process controls for manufacturing companies throughout the Northwest. His last position was in the Columbia River Gorge, not far from Centerville where he and his wife lived. Their greatest joy was riding their horses through that landscape, with majestic Mt. Adams ever present in the background.
Jeff grew up across and down the river in Troutdale, Oregon. There was a small regional airport there, and when Jeff was 13, his father gave him flying lessons. At the age of 15, on his birthday, Jeff earned his pilot’s license. This experience helped Jeff to understand that with the right opportunities, a person could achieve anything. Members of his family had the chance to fly with Jeff, to see Mt. Hood and Mt. Adams up close in a new way, and happily lived to tell about it.
After Jeff graduated from high school, he hitch-hiked solo across the United States. He bought a 1959 Chevy sedan with dramatic fish tails in the back. Fortunately, Jeff never had to sell that cool car. Someone stole it and stripped it clean. When the police found it, there was nothing left.
Jeff was the single boy in the family he grew up in—born right in the middle of five sisters. Memories of childhood are made up of simple moments in time. Joann recalls Jeff teaching her to play basketball when they were children. He showed her how to aim the ball so it would actually go in the hoop. They played a long time, laughing as they made their shots. Not to mention that many years later, Jeff breakdanced at Joann’s wedding! Diane thinks about the time when she and Jeff got lost in the woods on a family vacation. As darkness descended, Jeff’s faith and positivity helped them to find the pathway home. Younger sister Holly also recalls a trip into the woods with Jeff. She remembers her brother showing her how to stalk through a thicket by placing footfalls soundlessly one in front of the other. Once in the huckleberries, she barely kept from bumping into him from behind! Jackie and Jeff dreamed big, planning to drive from Portland to the very tip of Chile in South America, an amazing adventure that never came to pass. Heidi remembers that before his marriage to Lynn, Jeff told her, “I think I know enough about women from growing up in the middle of five girls.”
Throughout his life, Jeff loved the out of doors. He treasured the land where he lived and took pleasure from nature. He and his dad went steelhead fishing on many rivers in Oregon. He remembered his father’s advice: “Let your line out until you feel the first bump, then trip your bail and let it bounce along the bottom.” Jeff said he was never sure he did it quite right, but it did help him experience the ultimate thrill of catching some steelhead.
He loved animals, keeping a menagerie of dogs, cats, and horses that Lynn fondly called the “zoo.” Inside, their furry friends felt quite a home, finding a spot on the couch to call their own. Each one was considered a part of the family as Lynn loved them as easily as Jeff did.
No matter where he lived, Jeff was active in his church. Jeff and Lynn met and married at Bible Temple in Portland, Oregon. He was a dedicated Christian his entire life. He and Lynn joined the Grace Brethren Church in Goldendale, where they met many new friends.
Jeff and Lynn made friends wherever they lived: Portland, Salem, and Redmond in Oregon; Simi Valley in California; or Lyle and Centerville in Washington.
To relax, Jeff loved to play the piano and sing. He had a nice voice.
But above all, Jeff was a family man. Jeff was very proud of his three children. Andrew, the eldest, was in the Marines after college and earned an MBA at the University of Chicago in recent years. He works in finance. Elsibeth is also a college graduate, working for the State of Oregon. She recently published a memoir called “Snowbird.” Allison, currently enrolled at the University of Arizona, is fluent in Spanish and is an artist and dancer. Like her father, she has a beautiful singing voice. Jeff loved his wife and his children, as well as his five sisters and their families.
Jeff is survived by his wife of 39 years, Lynn of Centerville; a son, Andy Hoyt, and his wife Angela of Portland, Oregon; a daughter, Elsibeth Hoyt of Bend, Oregon; a daughter, Allison Hoyt of Tucson, Arizona; and five sisters: Jackie Swenson of Tucson, Arizona; Diane Goldsmith of Orinda, California; Holly HUdd of Troutdale, Oregon; Joann Erickson of Bend, Oregon; and Heidi Dell of Denver, Colorado; as well as many more family and friends.
Jeff is preceded in death by his parents, Jay and Lilian Hoyt, Troutdale, Oregon, and nephew Aaron Goldsmith, San Francisco, California.