Longtime Enumclaw resident Byron Dean Ditty graduated to heaven on Friday, September 23, 2016. He was born June 8, 1945 in Ontario, Oregon to Robert and Viola (Hintz) Ditty. From age five to eleven his family lived in LaGrande, OR where Byron loved the nearby lake and streams and had many fond memories of hunting and fishing with his dad, older brother Dwight and younger brother Leon. At the end of the day, he was always excited to return home to his mom and little sister Valerie and enjoy their home cooking. When he was twelve, his family moved to Eastern Washington to start irrigation farming. A pivotal point in Byron's life came at age 14 with the tragic automobile accident that killed his mother and younger brother and sister. This loss gave Byron the deep compassion he had to help families in their time of need and led to his future ministries of pastoring, counseling and funeral directing. Byron was so very appreciative of extended family that stepped in to support him, specifically his Uncle Helmut who helped instill a hard work ethic and Uncle Rudy who taught him to take time for fun.
After high school Byron attended Northwest University in Kirkland, WA and received a BA in pastoral studies. It was here that he met his wife, Verna Ihrke. Byron and Verna were married on August 27, 1966. Their first pastoral calling was in Waterville, WA where Byron was ecstatic to become Daddy to his son and daughter. Byron was then called to minister in Kittitas and Anacortes as a youth pastor, a calling that Verna loved deeply. The Ditty's then moved to pastor at the Enumclaw Assembly of God Church, now Mount Rainier Christian Center where they met the Weeks' family. Byron's friendship with Duane Weeks started his second career as a Funeral Director, a time that brought the family many fond memories.
Byron accomplished many things in his life including helping to start Auburn Christian School while still working part time for the funeral home. He earned his Master's Degree in Counseling from Seattle Pacific University which led him to many years as Director of Counseling at Wabash Church. In his free time Byron enjoyed camping, especially with family and friends at Lake Trask, fishing and golf, hobbies he passed on to his son and grandsons.
During his later years Byron struggled with dementia. He always knew his family and when his conversations became limited to short sentences, Byron's prayers always flowed naturally and with clarity.
Byron will be remembered for his generosity, sense of humor, love of food, playful attitude, incredible compassion and his immediate response to help those in need. He loved his family deeply and that love extended to many beyond his own home who consider him second family. You could often find him on the floor, usually playing with kids or even taking a nap! His desire to share his faith with others was evident to all who knew him. Faith, family, friends and food… this was Byron!
Byron is survived by his wife of 50 years, Verna of Enumclaw; son Mark Ditty and wife Rebecca of Renton; daughter Deanna Olney and husband Reece of Enumclaw; grandchildren: Hannah, Luke, Seth and Gracie. He was preceded in death by his parents Robert and Viola; brothers Dwight and Leon; and sister Valerie.
In lieu of flowers, remembrances may be made to Teen Challenge, Byron Ditty Memorial Fund. P.O. Box 1136, Sparks, NV 89432 or online at www.teenchallenge.net.
Obituary content and photo published on Weeks' Funeral Homes website.