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Becky Jewell peacefully passed away from leukemia on April 10, 2013, at her Port Angeles home with her family by her side.
She was born Rebecca Marie Arias on September 6, 1946, in Chicago, Illinois, to Cornelio and Conrada Arias.
Her family moved during the 1950s from Chicago to the suburbs, where she met her future husband, Jim Jewell, while washing dishes in the high school cafeteria.
After their first date, they were never apart and married in 1965.
Soon after their marriage, Jim was drafted and sent to Fort Lewis. Becky followed him West and fell in love with Washington. When Jim left for Vietnam in 1966, Becky returned home to Illinois and thus started to dream of someday moving back to Washington.
In 1970, her only child, Rick, was born. When he started school, Becky found a job as a teacher's aide for special education. Teaching soon became a passion, and she returned to college for her teaching degree.
In 1988, she graduated with honors from Purdue University. She loved teaching and was frequently given the most difficult students by her principal. She was beloved by her students because of her caring ways.
In 1990, Becky and her husband purchased property overlooking the Elwha Valley and the Strait. Then, in 1998, her 32-year dream came true when Becky and her husband retired and built their dream home. She truly loved living on the Peninsula and would often say, "I was born to live here."
During her 15 years in Port Angeles, Becky developed many health issues, including four types of cancer. Nevertheless, she volunteered at the senior center computer lab, Friends of the Library and the Olympic Coast Discovery Center. Her favorite, however, was the Feiro Marine Life Center. She loved to tell visitors about our local marine life and give "octopus talks."
During much of this time, her health issues were a heavy burden, but she never stopped smiling. When asked why, she would say: "When I wake up in the morning, I have a choice to make: I can either be happy or sad, and I choose to be happy. Feeling sorry for myself is a waste of precious time."
Becky's courage and zest for life were an inspiration to all who knew her.
Becky is survived by her husband, Jim; son Rick and Rick's wife, Gwen; and granddaughters Kayla and Casey.
Becky did not want a funeral service. Her ashes will be scattered by family and special friends in the future.
In lieu of flowers or memorial gifts, she asked that donations be made to the Feiro Marine Life Center, P.O. Box 625 (315 North Lincoln Street), Port Angeles, WA 98362.
Published in The Peninsula Daily News on Apr. 24, 2013