I’m 50 now. It’s apparently the age where, when someone sends a message that says, “did you ever know…?” or, “do you remember…?” you can bet the follow-up will not be that they won the lottery or got some sort of Pell Grant. Nope. At this point, I’m learning all about people I once knew (or at least was in close proximity to) who have died.
I don’t know what it is about Eureka, CA*, but it feels like an inordinate number of people who once called it home are now gone. I’m sure that, statistically, it’s in the mean and not some wild edge case, but from where I’m sitting, it’s causation meets causality. In the interest of making sure these folks aren’t forgotten (by me, at least), I’m going to attempt to keep track of my Humboldt friends and acquaintances who are no longer on this, mortal coil. Chronological-ish. At 50, my memory is also not what it used to be.
- Arrion Ried – His truck was pulled off the jetty by a sneaker wave – 1986
- Glenn Miller – Cancer – ~1987
- Brad Seivers – He was hit and killed by a drunk driver while delivering pizzas – ~1987
- Rickie Olson – Suicide – ~1988
- Justin Parodi – unknown – 1988
- Dax (forgot last name, soccer player from Arcata I’d known since we were kids) – Fell off houseboat and drown while partying with his friends – ~1988
- Arron Porter (and others)- Head-on car crash while crossing the Samoa Bridge on prom night – 1989
- AJ Milton – suicide(?) – ~1991?
- Marc Smith – Suicide. Apparently shot himself while driving(!) – ~1992
- Chris Gambin – Shot while in the bay area, attempting to reclaim money someone owed him. That someone may or may not have been a drug dealer – 1996
- Kathy Kellogg (Mr. Kellogg’s daughter) – Helicopter crash as part of a diplomatic envoy during the Yugoslav Wars – ~1996
- Andrew LaMont – Helicopter (CH-46 Sea-Knight) crash during a military training exercise, Iraq – 2003
- Riley Walhund – Suicide – 2007
- Aaron Slade – Suicide by drinking himself to death – 2010
- Jury Swanson – Car accident that may or may not have been a suicide – year?
- Joanna Marcuz – Cancer – 2016
- Moish Brenman – Heart failure – 2016
- Quentin (forgot last name) – Overdose – 2017
- Derrick Rocha – ??? 2019
- Jason Hubbard – ??? 2019
- Jenny Dannewitz – Skiing accident – year?
- Jocelyn Jackson – ??? – 2022
- Josh Arbaugh – Boat accident (drown with father while fishing) – 2022
- Earl Sayers – Heart failure(?) – 2022
- Jason Tracey – Heart failure(?) – 2022
- Jocelyn Jackson – (unknown) – 2022
*OK, I have my ideas. Eureka has always had a history of depression and mental illness. It is filled with people having chronic vitamin D deficiency and seasonal depression disorder. It is said that while stationed at Fort Humboldt early in his military, Ulysses S. Grant started his long-term hobby of drinking. The area also supposedly has high concentration of cancers, particularly stomach cancer that may or may not be related to the pulp mills in the area spewing chemical concoctions into the skies during the 70s and 80s. It appears, based on the trends seen in the list above, many people engaged in activities that relate to depression- drinking, drug use and the like. Nowadays, the deaths are health related and just…age. The list will only grow faster from here, sadly.