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Colleen Marie Ayriss-Smith

August 11, 1952 November 28, 2019
Colleen  Marie Ayriss-Smith
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Obituary for Colleen Marie Ayriss-Smith

Colleen Marie Ayriss-Smith was born August 11, 1952, in Pasadena, California, to Donald Richard and Wanda Faye (McKusick) Ayriss. She grew up with a brother and two sisters, living in California most of her childhood. Colleen’s father worked at Disneyland while it was being built and she had fond memories of being allowed to test ride the Matterhorn as well as the Monorail. Her father had a bit of a wandering spirit and the family relocated to Washington. Colleen graduated from high school in Kent, Washington. She went on to college and earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Archaeology and Anthropology, and also studied graphic design.

Colleen married David Manz in 1972 and the couple were together 20 years and raised two daughters together, Carina and Monica. The girls were the light of her life and she loved being a mother to them, involving herself in their activities like being 4H and Campfire Leader. Not only was she mom to her daughters, but she was “mom” to so many others that were blessed to know her over the years. Colleen had a huge heart and loved to help people, “adopting” many children over the years that came from homes less fortunate. Most of the girls’ friends called her mom and spent a lot of time in their loving home. Even growing up, Carina and Monica were very aware of how blessed they were to have such an amazing mom who they could trust and was more like a best friend. Colleen even let one of her co-workers stay with her for a time while she got back on her feet. She brought home many “misfits” over the years, animals or people, always reaching out with open arms and an open heart.

Inheriting her father’s wandering spirit, Colleen lived many different places, traveled when she was able and wanted to, and worked at all kinds of jobs, enjoying each one. She traveled to central America and studied for a while in Mexico. While she lived on Whidbey Island in Washington she worked as a buyer for Ace Hardware giftshops and housewares. She also held a job handmaking wallpaper, actually handmaking the paper itself, then painting the wallpaper by hand, and hand-stitching ribbon into the wallpaper. It was a fascinating and creative job and it even offered the opportunity to create wallpaper for famous clients including Madonna. For a time, Colleen even had the pleasure of working in with her daughter Carina in quality control for a clothing designer.

Colleen was very creative and made all kinds of crafts and sold them at craft fairs with her sisters. She made ceramics and used a loom to weave table runners. When the girls were young, she made their clothes and many of their gifts growing up, like clothes for their baby dolls. She was a free spirit with a gypsy soul, living life with joy and creativity, in tune with her spirituality. Colleen was known to many as Chelsea “Moon” or just “Moon”. This was a name she created with her siblings when they were in their 20s or 30s. They each thought of new names for themselves; Alana became Ashley Sun, Bonnie chose Miranda Star, and Michael just went by “Comet”. They were the sun, moon, and stars to each other. And somehow those names stuck around, and Colleen even used the name Chelsea Moon for her Facebook profile. Grandchildren referred to her as grandma Moon and she was often Mother Moon or Mama Moon to her daughter Carina.

Over the years, Colleen attended many get togethers at her brother-in-law’s house and knew many of his friends. One of those friends that she saw over the last 18 years was Bryan Smith. They always shared easy conversation and found pleasure in one another’s company over the years, but about 6 years ago they really connected, and when the timing was right the two began dating. Bryan thought she has the biggest brightest smile and the most expressive eyes he had ever seen. He was smitten for sure. The girls had never seen their mom so happy and were delighted that Bryan and Colleen decided to marry four years ago. They settled in Stayton, Oregon, in the home that Bryan owned. The last four years seemed like a lifetime and yet the blink of an eye. They adored one another and no amount of time would have been enough for the two, but boy did they live in the time they were given together. For their honeymoon they went to Reno, Vegas, and the Grand Canyon and the highlight of the trip was a helicopter ride over the canyon to the music of Flight of the Valkyrie. Closer to home, the couple enjoyed getting away to the coast whenever they could, enjoying the peaceful ocean air and refreshing sound of the crashing waves. Colleen especially loved the time she spent at the coast when her daughters and grandkids could join them. Bryan bought, sold, and rode ATVs over the years and was able to share that hobby with Colleen, spending fun-filled weekends at Sand Lake and even taking trips to buy ATVs not knowing where they would end up, but knowing it would be interesting at least!

Colleen was the most easy-going person and never gave Bryan a hard time about long hours on the farm or another ATV he spent money on. Whatever they did together was fun, whether on one of their adventures or just being home cooking or gardening together. They simply enjoyed one another’s company and shared a deep abounding love. Colleen was selfless and always put others first, even when she knew her time on earth was limited, she worried about Bryan being OK without her. Bryan cared for Colleen as she bravely fought cancer and was by her side when she passed away peacefully at their home on November 28, 2019, after a courageous battle with cancer. 

Colleen was preceded in death by her father. She will be deeply missed by those she leaves behind including her husband Bryan Smith; daughters Carina Manz and Monica Ayriss; stepson Casey Smith; grandchildren Darian Ayriss and Zoe Dahle; mother Wanda Ayriss; brother Michael (Donna) Ayriss; and sisters Alana Ayriss and Bonnie (Garry) Hunt. 

A private family celebration of life will be held at a later date.

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