Clyde Stanley Sayce

Clyde Stanley Sayce

OCEAN PARK — Clyde Stanley Sayce, 92, died at home in Ocean Park on Sept. 29, 2013. He was born June 6, 1921, in Tono, the second of four children of James Sayce and Hazel Augusta Erickson Sayce.

Clyde’s father was a master mechanic and master electrician, and worked on electrification projects throughout the West. The family moved 28 times between his starting elementary school and graduation from high school. During the years when they were living in western Washington, the family often vacationed in Long Beach. It was his deep wish when he was young to find a community to settle into as an adult, and not ever leave it. To Clyde, Ocean Park and Willapa Bay became that place. He moved to Ocean Park in 1951, and lived there for the rest of his life.

Clyde was a journeyman electrician at age 16, and worked along with his father on the installation of the main generators of the first powerhouse at Grand Coulee Dam. He was a life-long member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, and received his 70-years pin in 2007.

During World War II Clyde served in the Navy. After a year of training at Sperry Rand in College Station Texas, he was assigned to a Carrier Aircraft Support Unit as a radio and radar technician at the Guadalcanal Airbase. He was asked to join the Underwater Demolition Team, but chose to return to civilian life after the war.

He studied at University of Washington, where he met his first wife, Bonnie Lee Wooldridge, marrying her on Sept. 27, 1947. Clyde worked on Willapa Bay as an intern for Professor Trevor Kincaid for two summers while in college, and graduated in 1949 with a Bachelor of Science and a double major in Zoology and Fisheries. He worked for Washington Department of Fisheries (WDF) in Gig Harbor for several years, then came to Willapa Bay in 1951 to work as a bed manager for Bendiksen Oyster Company.

In 1955 Clyde rejoined WDF, managing the state lab in Nahcotta. He made several winter trips to Japan, and one to Korea, to inspect oyster seed being imported to the Pacific Northwest, and brought back the idea of holding young oysters in more protected sites for a year to improve survival. This was initially tested by John Wiegardt, and was quickly adopted by the industry when it was shown to increase survival of young oysters by a factor of ten. He applied for and received SeaGrant funding for the construction of the Nahcotta Shellfish Laboratory (now the Willapa Bay Field Station), including dry and wet laboratories and a saltwater aquarium room. He was a keen observer of natural history, maintained an extensive mollusk collection, did primary research on burrowing shrimp control methods, started an oyster condition index that became one of the longest running shellfish condition databases on the West Coast (which in turn was used by others to map El Niño-Southern Oscillation Events and Pacific Decadal Oscillations), monitored bay water quality, and watched for invasive species on oyster beds and in bay waters, including documenting green crabs living in the bay for several years in the 1960s. One of his favorite memories, in an ironic sense, was of being sent to the ocean beach by WDF to watch for tsunamis following the Good Friday Quake (epicenter in south central coastal Alaska) in 1964.

He was an adjunct professor at the University of Washington for several decades, during which zoology and fisheries classes came to Willapa Bay each year. Students often said afterwards that these trips were the muddiest field trips of their lives. Professors Dixie Lee Ray and Ken Chew were among the regular visitors with their annual classes in marine biology, fisheries and marine zoology. Aquaculturists, fisheries scientists and their graduate students came from around the world to the shellfish lab in those decades. After retiring from the fisheries department in 1978, he farmed cranberries for several years, managing a farm started by Joe Rowe and Charlie Nelson.

Staying true to his desire to live in one place for the rest of his life, he regularly turned down job offers, including from several universities, Scripps Institute of Oceanography, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, NOAA-National Marine Fisheries in Oxford, Maryland, UN Food and Agricultural Organization in Rome, Italy and other agencies.

Clyde believed in community service, and in leaving the world a better place by his personal actions. He was a volunteer fireman, a school board director at Ocean Park School District, followed by Ocean Beach School District, where he stayed on the board until his youngest daughter Cyndi was a senior in high school. He was a member of Kiwanis and Toastmasters. He and his first wife, Bonnie, were active in the Sandpipers Dance Club for several decades; he was a caller for the club’s square dances and had a good tenor singing voice. During his early retirement, he was on the board of directors for Twin Harbors Credit Union. In 1987, he became a commissioner for Port of Peninsula, a position that he held until his death. He was a member of Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1321, and Ocean Park Chamber of Commerce. Clyde served over 40 years as a local elected official, and with four years in the Navy, he voluntarily contributed half his life to his community and nation.

He enjoyed sailing, hunting and fishing, and for several decades fished salmon on the Columbia River with Rival Moore and other friends. He was a scuba diver, an enthusiastic photographer with a collection of antique cameras and an extensive slide collection on the aquaculture industry. He was an amateur radio operator, his call sign was WA7YQB. He also enjoyed golfing and NASCAR races.

Late in life, he was delighted when the paved walkway alongside Bay Avenue was installed. He had lost his brother Floyd in the 1930s to a drunk driver whose car ran up on a sidewalk; a close friend, John Wiegardt, was killed crossing the road at the Nahcotta Store in the 1950s; and a neighbor, Anna Perow was killed while walking into Ocean Park on Bay Avenue. Pedestrian safety was very important to him, and for several years he walked the new path every day into downtown Ocean Park.

In the spring of 2010 he married Donna Cox.

Survivors include second wife, Donna Sayce; a sister, Joy Sayce Sigurdson of Kent; his children, James Sayce of Seaview, Cyndi Sayce of Beaverton, Ore. and Kathleen Sayce of Nahcotta; four nephews, a niece and their children. His parents; older brother, Floyd Sayce; youngest sister Barbara Sayce Hall; and his first wife, Bonnie Lee Sayce, preceded him in death.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m., on Oct. 27 at the Columbia Pacific Heritage Museum on Lake Street in Ilwaco.

The family asks that donations in Clyde’s memory be made to the Silent Key Fund, an engineering and science college scholarship for students from high schools in Pacific County. This fund is hosted by the Pacific County Amateur Radio Club. Donations can be sent to Richard Lemke, President, PCARC, P.O. Box 1038, Ocean Park WA 98640. Checks should be written to “Pacific County Amateur Radio.”

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