Sydney V. Voorhees

November 15, 1946 - April 26, 2016
Sydney Voorhees thumbnail
Sunset View Mortuary
Susan Turner
Nicole Bain
Nancy Edwards
Teri Bryant
Paula Malone
Susan Layser
Mike Quigley Light a candle


Sydney Van Voorhees, b. Honolulu, HI Nov. 15, 1946, d. unexpectedly in Walnut Creek, CA
April 26, 2016. Sydney was the much-beloved widow of John A. Layser, fiancé of Paul Wilson,
and left behind daughters Susan Layser and Felicia Layser Robertson and their children Melissa
Layser, Connor and Ava Robertson, and son-in- law Sean Robertson.

As a young person Sydney lost her two brothers in separate accidents, becoming the last
surviving child to her mother Virginia Voorhees. She joined the Peace Corps at nineteen, who
sent her to the African nation of Chad to teach English and French. Chad at the time was often
involved in military skirmishes on its borders. While there she hiked frequently, one day taking a
bullet in the arm that was non-life threatening. However, the doctors determined that it was less
of a threat to leave it there than to remove it, hence a great story and source of admiration to her
new stepdaughters about a decade later.

Sydney lived in Portland, OR until marrying John Layser in 1977 when she moved to Seattle.
Later they relocated to Mukilteo, WA. John died in 2001, and the rest of the family eventually
persuaded her to consider moving down to the Bay Area to be closer to them. She visited fairly
often, and as luck would have it Felicia introduced her to a family friend and widower Paul who
she fell in love with and planned to marry May 15, 2016. Together, she and Paul planned to
grow old together and she looked forward to calling the Wilson and Veitch clan her family.

Sydney was a long-time administrator for the Everett, and Edmonds, WA public school districts
for many years until her retirement, where she specialized in helping students with serious
behavioral issues. She was loved and treasured by her colleagues.

After retirement Sydney, no sloucher, decided to take up not one hobby, but three: golfing, hula,
and sailing. Though sad to leave her hula family in Washington, she quickly found a new family
to join at Rossmoor and continued to perform. We will miss her smile and her light that shined
when she danced.

We who love her are devastated. In lieu of flowers, please give in Sydney’s memory to
KQED, Bailey-Boushay House of Seattle and Grays Harbor Community Foundation of
Hoquiam, WA.

Leave a Condolence

Life Event Timeline

Help tell the story of Sydney by contributing to the Life Event Timeline. Upload the photo of an event...

Post an Event

Timeline for Sydney Voorhees

Born: November 15, 1946
Died: April 26, 2016

Condolences for Sydney Voorhees

Sunset View Mortuary

Our sincere condolences.

The staff of Sunset View Mortuary.


Roni posted on 5/5/16

Sydney was an inspiration to so many of us. Always a smile even when things were hectic. Your smile will remain with us. Roni Tucker


Mike Quigley posted on 7/7/17

Lit a candle in memory of Sydney V. Voorhees


Mark Finley posted on 5/5/16

My condolences and prayers go out to all of Sydney's family. I worked with Sydney for several years at the Edmonds School District, and knew her to be very dedicated and compassionate in her work of educating and advocating for kids, and also a very caring person as she expressed genuine happiness for me when I got married. And what a great story about her peace corp work!


Joy constantinej posted on 5/5/16

There you are Sydney dancing the hula with the angels. You can show them the ones you learned with your Kupuna sisters. Miss your smile. Aloha (Love not goodbye). Hula Mom "Joy" :hibiscus:


Laura Armor posted on 6/27/16

I have been thinking of Sydney often. Tom and I lived in Los Angeles, and she and John lived in Washington. I hadn't met her until she and her mom and husband, and Tom and I went on a cruise to the Caribbean. She was such a great sport, always up for going places and doing things. I'm incredibly happy for her that she was so happy at the end. Warmly, Laura Armor


Susan Layser posted on 5/4/16

Lit a candle in memory of Sydney V. Voorhees


Paula Malone posted on 5/5/16

Lit a candle in memory of Sydney V. Voorhees


Teri Bryant posted on 5/5/16

Lit a candle in memory of Sydney V. Voorhees


Nancy Edwards posted on 5/5/16

Lit a candle in memory of Sydney V. Voorhees


Nicole Bain posted on 5/9/16

Lit a candle in memory of Sydney V. Voorhees


Mike Quigley posted on 7/8/17

Always remember our times on the houseboat, and visits to Death Valley, and Mt. Whitney.


Susan Turner posted on 5/5/16

Lit a candle in memory of Sydney V. Voorhees


Gloria Kern posted on 5/10/16

This message is sent on behalf of Lea Hadlich and all in Na Kupuna o Kealoha: We miss you, dear Sydney. We remember you as a warm, happy, dedicated hula "sistah" in our Na Kupuna o Kealoha hula "ohana" (family). We were so looking forward to learning your "Christmas Island" hula for the Hawaii State Club's Christmas party program, which you were as anxious to share with us. But, "auwe!" (alas!), you were taken from our midst - so unexpectedly. Anyway, we have pledged to do our version of the "Christmas Island" hula at Christmas time for you, and we hope that you will be pleased as you watch us from above. "Me kealoha mau pumehana" (with very warm affection), Your teacher, Lea, and your "sistahs"