Kingston says good-bye to Cy Wyse

KINGSTON — When North Kitsap School District Supt. Gene Medina walks into his office, one of the prominently displayed photos always catches his eye. It is from a party held a little over a year ago, celebrating the work and passion one man had for his community and the children living in it.

Now, Medina said he’s happy he has the photo as he, along with the Kingston community and the NKSD, mourn the passing of one of their own.

Cy Wyse, 79, died Wednesday afternoon, leaving behind a legacy of hard work and immense caring. His involvement with the North Kitsap Boys & Girls Club, the Kitsap Public Facilities District, the North Kitsap School Board, Kiwanis, Rotary and numerous other organizations illustrated that he hoped to help change the community for children, to make it a better place for learning and having fun.

“He was bigger than life,” said North Kitsap School Board member Catherine Ahl. “He was already a legend when I first met him. I don’t know what to say, he was just an incredible person.”

Before he became known for his hard work and caring, Wyse was known to Lillian Asher as a neighbor constantly putting up with her family’s animals and her children. She said she and her family were thinking of him Sunday, hoping to call and see how he was recovering from a fall he took Sept. 8 at the Kingston High School opening.

“He was a good neighbor, we enjoyed having him as a neighbor and friend,” Asher said. “Many things went on, and if we needed help, he would come over and help us.”

Her son, Bill Asher, said Wyse was known to host big events at his house every now and then, and usually invited the Ashers. At one particular gathering, when Bill Asher was about 12, it was getting late but several party goers were staying late and carrying on.

At this point, Wyse invited Lillian Asher up to perform “Indian Love Call” on the piano. Bill Asher said his mom was known for her piano playing skills, but much less so for her singing abilities. As she belted out the popular tune, several residents quickly made their exit, something Wyse had probably planned for all along.

“Most of that happened after I went to college,” Bill Asher said of Wyse’s extensive work with students. “It’s great he did it, but I think he spent most of my youth trying to keep us from destroying his yard. I knew when he moved to (Kimre Place), he had a basketball hoop in his driveway for the neighborhood children.”

Helping others was the rule of thumb Wyse lived by, the willingness to make an effort for a friend or neighbor, to work hard to get things done so the community would be a better place. Among his many accomplishments in the community, he helped found the Hip Hop Hoop Shoot in 1989, worked on maintenance and repainting, some of which he did himself, for the Kingston Community Center in 2002 and 2003 and served for six years on the KPFD to assist in securing funds and develop projects for the sole purpose of benefitting the local youth. Just over a year ago, a party was held to celebrate Wyse’s “retirement” from the KPFD and slowing down to a quieter life.

“Even when he slowed down, he kept his fingers, he kept his fingers in the projects,” said former Kitsap County Commissioner Chris Endresen. “He wasn’t afraid to pick up the phone and let someone know what he thought about a project. I’m going to miss him a lot.”

While he was with the KPFD, Wyse worked hard to provide facilities children could use, especially involving sports. Medina said Wyse was proud he had been a basketball player, and let everyone know it. His love of basketball and sports transfered well to his work with the facilities district.

“He was pivotal in getting the fairgrounds turned into a multipurpose activity center,” said KPFD Chairwoman Linda Berry-Maraist. “Cy was into sports and kids, and that was what he was all about... Cy, really a lot of people say they support kids and the community, but Cy lived and breathed that. I didn’t know anyone else that did.”

Medina said even after the party last August, Wyse continued to work and check up on various programs going on in the school district. He was present at the KHS opening, something that was made possible because Wyse lobbied and strived to provide a new school to local students.

“Cy was an incredible person, he was special, magical, amazing in the way he love kids,” Medina said. “He loved kids in an incredibly special way. He was passionate about it. The North Kitsap Boys & Girls Club, he was a main force behind that. He really had a special presence about him... When Cy was in the room, you always knew it.”

No announcements or plans have been made yet for a memorial service, but many residents were sure the Kingston community and the NKSD would both honor Wyse in their own ways.

“Cy Wyse is Cy Wyse, and there aren’t too many Cy Wyses around,” Medina said. “He was a good friend. A lot of people pass through your life, but you always know when someone special passes through your life. He was special.”

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