Byron James Gaudette, 32, of Traverse City, died Saturday evening, April 7, 2018, at Munson Hospice House. He passed away peacefully, surrounded by his parents, stepparents, brother and sister, longtime friend, Frank Fardell, and his caregivers at hospice house.
Byron was the son of Barry Gaudette and Cyndi Dickey, both of Traverse City.
Byron was born on June 29, 1985 in Midland and lived in Traverse City since 1991. He graduated with Traverse City's Central High School class of 2003. He ventured to California with friends the following year, where he spent most of his adult life near Santa Cruz.
He furthered his education by taking classes at Northwestern Michigan College in Traverse City and Cabrillo College in Santa Cruz.
Byron had a passion for cultivating and growing things. He sought a minimalistic and sustainable lifestyle. He chose not to participate in materialism or "the rat race" for even one day of his life. He worked on farms, in greenhouses, vineyards and cultivated a large garden at his friend Ryan Rieck's farm. He worked at eco-tourism camps in Mexico and on a jojoba plant farm in the Mohave Dessert.
He loved the outdoors, the ocean, forests and the Great Lakes. The mountains especially called to him! He liked to travel, explore back roads in his truck, camp, hike and backpack. He had an artistic streak, was an expressive writer, dabbled in guitar playing and practiced outdoor survival skills.
Byron is survived by his parents, Cyndi (mother) and Terry Dickey, Barry (father) and Cheryl Gaudette; brother, Troy Gaudette; Paige (sister) and Ben Waldron; sister, Eva Gaudette; niece, Ingrid Waldron (7); nephew, Jonas Waldron (3); and maternal grandfather, Rowland Baker. All reside in Traverse City. Byron also has numerous other aunts, uncles and caring step families.
Byron returned to Michigan one year ago to have the support of his family while he received treatment for a rare cancer. He faced treatments with great courage and determination to live life to the fullest. The oncology staff at Karmanos Cancer Institute, Munson Medical Center and Cowell Family Cancer Center provided him with excellent medical care, as well as much moral support and many friendships. His faith and positive spirit never wavered.
When his health allowed, between treatments, he was still able to explore back roads, camp, hike at the sand dunes and swim in Lake Michigan. Byron left a small "carbon" footprint on the earth, but a large footprint in the lives and hearts of those who knew and loved him!
According to Byron's life philosophy, a "green" burial has taken place at the Peninsula Township Cemetery on Old Mission Peninsula in Grand Traverse County.
A celebration of his life will take place at an open house on Friday, April 20, from 4 to 7 p.m., at the Botanic Garden visitor center located at the Historic Barns Park at Grand Traverse Commons, 1490 Red Dr., Traverse City.
Those wishing to make a contribution in Byron's memory may contact the Grand Traverse Regional Land Conservancy; https://www.gtrlc.org/.
Published on April 15, 2018