Obituary Frances Helen Pyeatt Salyer
Frances Helen Pyeatt Salyer, former resident of Olney, Texas, died in Marysville, California, on July 19, 2018. Born on November 10, 1918, in Cleburne, Texas, just as World War I was ending, Helen was the only daughter of six children born to Leonard Ewing and Minnie Lou Hill Pyeatt. Helen grew up in Olney and, after graduating from Olney High School, attended Weatherford College and Texas Wesleyan College (B.A. 1940). She returned to the area to take her first teaching job in a two-room schoolhouse in Anarene, Texas. Always ready for adventure and anxious to do her part during World War II, Helen joined the Women’s Reserve of the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943, returning on a ten-day furlough to Olney to marry her best friend, Oswald (“Oz”) Bryan Salyer, a resident of Newcastle, Texas, and a chaplain in the U.S. Navy, on March 26, 1945, at the First United Methodist Church.
After the war, the Salyers left Texas as Oz became a career Navy chaplain, a job that took them all over the country and to Japan. Luckily, they both loved to travel and made it their goal to see as much of the world as possible. Helen threw herself into the demanding life of a Navy chaplain’s wife, making many lifelong friends. But she also continued her own career as a teacher and reading specialist. She loved the written word, a book and crossword puzzle always at hand. After retiring from the Los Angeles Unified School District in the 1970s, Helen was busier than ever, taking up writing and painting, and volunteering for the adult literacy program. She was also the best mom, motherin-law, and grandmother ever, welcoming all into the family. She had four children (Kim, Mark, Scott and Lucy), eleven grandchildren, and fourteen greatgrandchildren.
Helen moved to Prestige Assisted Living in Marysville, California, in 2003 to be closer to family, her husband having died in 1983. While Helen’s memory faded as dementia set in, she kept her wicked humor, good manners, and love of singing up to the very end. She was a woman of great warmth, intelligence, and strength, brightening the lives of all those fortunate to have known her. To paraphrase a line from one of her favorite songs, “Red River Valley,” we will miss her bright eyes and sweet smile. She will be buried alongside her husband at the Los Angeles National Cemetery.