SEQUIM — Whether in a comfy chair or couch, in a restaurant or listening to an audiobook in the car, the Streetts have always been a family of book-lovers.
The Streetts brought along “Boys in the Boat,” a book especially popular in the Sequim area, to listen to while on a road trip to Sedona, Ariz., and Robert’s family reunion in Pagosa Springs, Colo.
But the family didn’t get the chance to hear the book.
On July 20, while traveling on U.S. Highway 160 near Durango, Colo., the Streetts were struck in a head-on collision that took the lives of Robert, 52, and Robby, 16.
Josslyn, Robert’s wife and Robby’s mother, and son Sawyer, who is 14, are recovering from injuries sustained in the crash.
The Streetts will host a memorial service for Robert and Robby at 1 p.m. today in the Port Angeles Library, 2210 S. Peabody St.
Friends and neighbors Rich and Becky Johnson will facilitate the service, which includes songs and time for friends to share stories.
Josslyn said she and Sawyer chose the library because of their family’s passion for reading.
“When we first moved here, their favorite place was the library, and as they got older, they’d ride their bikes there,” she said.
Robert joined the North Olympic Library System’s board of trustees because “he felt it was another way to help out,” Josslyn said. Last year, he marched in the Sequim Irrigation Festival’s parade to promote awareness to help expand the Sequim Library.
Robby, who loved being around books, led his dad to help the library, Josslyn said, because he was a volunteer first at the Sequim Library.
“Robby’s favorite book was ‘Ready Player One.’ He read it 26 times and wrote to the author and received a letter back and signed copies of books,” she said.
A community volunteer, Robert helped with Citizens for Sequim Schools, led the networking breakfast for the Sequim-Dungeness Valley Chamber of Commerce and was a member of Sequim Sunrise Rotary.
Robby, an honor roll student and a member of the Future Business Leaders of America, was looking forward to Running Start classes at Peninsula College as a junior at Sequim High School, Josslyn said.
‘Happiest he’d been’
Josslyn said since becoming more involved and opening his own business, Clear Water Bidet in Carlsborg, Robert was “the happiest he’d been,” as he’d take the boys to trade shows.
“He had so much energy and he genuinely liked people,” she said.
“We had a lot of plans and those plans are gone.”
A Mancos, Colo., man — Anthony Rodriguez, 36 — has been charged with two counts of vehicular homicide and two counts of vehicular assault. His plea hearing was delayed and is now set for Jan. 5.
Since the wreck, community members have created a Facebook community, “Friends of the Streetts,” that helped promote the family’s GoFundMe page — www.gofundme.com/street-family-support-fund — and First Federal account, coordinate meals for Josslyn and Sawyer and provide a central spot for sending support.
Now the Streetts are encouraging family and friends to send Sawyer stories about Robert and/or Robby to storiesfor firstname.lastname@example.org so he’ll “remember his brother and dad as best as possible,” Josslyn said.
The email account will remain open through January, and then a friend of the family plans to turn the stories into a book for Sawyer.
“We’ve read some incredible stories so far, and I’ve learned some beautiful parts about them,” Josslyn said.
Leading up to the memorial service, she’s found the “community has gone above and beyond with donations of hotel rooms and food.”
The GoFundMe site, which had raised $42,640 by Friday, has helped pay for grief counseling, caregivers and immediate needs, Josslyn said.
She’s encouraging people interested in helping to support the “Streett Memorial Gift Fund” through the North Olympic Library System, which will likely support the Sequim Library expansion in some capacity.
Robert’s business, Clear Water Bidet, is continuing to operate as well, with help from family and its existing employees.
Josslyn said since the wreck, they’ve been “living in the moment” and finding that “every minute is different.”
The Streetts have been supported by a 24-hour caregiver team with a mostly volunteer crew of her Reiki students and one paid caregiver.
Josslyn, a Reiki master and teacher for her Rain Shadow Reiki business, said she walked for the first time without a walker two weeks ago, and she’s been off oxygen for about one month.
She broke several ribs and her wrists, had blood on the brain, a broken bone behind one of her eyes, some bruised organs and a collapsed lung, and she suffered a stroke after surgery that affects her speech and memory.
Sawyer remains in a wheelchair but is progressing ahead of schedule, seeing a physical therapist a few times a week.
“He wants to be out of a wheelchair by the end of the year,” Josslyn said.
Since coming back to Sequim from Colorado, Josslyn said she and her son have been grateful for the space and time to heal and the prayer.
“I know they’re lifting us up,” she said. “That’s the beauty of living in a small town: You can impact people’s lives in a great amount.”
As they take steps to adjust to a new life in Sequim, Josslyn said her goals are to get healthy and look after Sawyer.
“Being a mom has always been my most important job — doubly for Sawyer now,” she said.
Looking ahead to the holiday season, the Streetts were considering what to do without Robert and Robby.
For Thanksgiving, they’ll eat dinner with Robert’s friend Shenna Younger’s family.
For Christmas, they decided to decorate a Christmas tree with only angels.
“Everything is going to be different for us,” Josslyn said.
“But when traveling, we learned to do different things for traditions. Went to a restaurant on Thanksgiving last year. As long as we are all together, it didn’t matter. That’s the difference. So we’re going to create new traditions — Sawyer and I.”
Matthew Nash is a reporter with the Olympic Peninsula News Group, which is composed of Sound Publishing newspapers Peninsula Daily News, Sequim Gazette and Forks Forum. Reach him at email@example.com.