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Gordon Eugene Williams

July 1, 1938 August 17, 2018
Gordon Eugene Williams
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Obituary for Gordon Eugene Williams

Gordon Williams, 80, passed away on Aug.17, 2018, from Lou Gehrig’s Disease (ALS) at his home in Gasquet. Gordy was born July 1, 1938 in Winegar, Wisconsin, to Glen and Rachael (Bastain) Williams. He was the fourth of nine children.

During WWII his family moved to the San Francisco Bay area, where both his father and mother worked as welders in the shipyards as part of the war effort. When Gordy was 4 years old, the family moved to the North Coast, living in Eureka and Fieldbrook and eventually moving to Kneeland when he was 10. He and his siblings lived a free-range childhood endlessly exploring the forests and rivers surrounding their home. He was a helpful and hardworking child, working with his parents to clear their property, build their home and tend to the animals they raised for food. As a teenager Gordy lived and worked on several ranches in the area above Kneeland where he loved the solitude and quiet of the beautiful open range-land of the coastal mountains.

At the age of 18, Gordy joined the Navy and was stationed in San Diego. He was assigned to a re-supply ship and his tour of duty took him all throughout the Pacific Rim, traveling to Hawaii, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and the Philippines. This experience opened up the world to him and he never lost his love for travel and adventure.

Returning to the North Coast in 1960, Gordy began working for Utility Tree Service where he became an accomplished tree climber. He climbed huge redwoods using flip ropes, utilizing these skills in his later employment with Pacific Gas and Electric where he worked maintaining and clearing power lines and rights-of-way. He became a crew supervisor and union shop steward and his work with PG&E took him up and down the California Coast, living at various times in Morro Bay, Fort Bragg and Garberville, where he lived during the great floods of 1964. During this time, Gordy married his first wife, Rosie Gallagher, mother of his two boys, Vince and Damon. In early 1970, Gordy began working for the newly established Redwood National Park as part of the park’s first maintenance crew. He led the crew tasked with establishing the park’s physical boundary and worked on building some of the earliest visitor facilities, including the Lady Bird Johnson Trail. His career grew with the park. Starting as a jack-of-all-trades laborer, he eventually became the park’s plumber, concentrating on building and maintaining water systems.

It was while working at the park that he met his future wife Mary Read, who was a co-worker in the maintenance division. Their partnership began in 1984, and they eventually married in 1988. They bought a home in Gasquet in 1986 and spent the next 32 years side by side developing their property, planting trees, building gardens and creating a wonderful home and sanctuary. Gordy derived so much pleasure from nurturing and maintaining their home and property, and after retiring from Redwood National Park in 1996, was able to devote even more time to these pursuits. Gordy was always very athletic.

He was an avid runner well into his 50s and an even more avid bicyclist. In his running days he participated in many 10 -15K events, particularly enjoying the annual Bay to Breakers run in San Francisco. He completed several Avenue of the Giants Marathons. While neck injuries put an end to his running days, he continued bicycling. He and Mary took many wonderful bike trips through the islands in Puget Sound and on Vancouver Island. Gordy bicycled the length of California on his 50th birthday, and in the year following his retirement, at the age of 58, completed a solo cross-country bike trip from their home in Gasquet to Rhode Island. He and Mary loved to camp and travel and had so many wonderful experiences and adventures together. Their travels took them all over the U.S., Canada, Great Britain and Ireland.

Gordy was a quiet and unassuming man who also had a goofy and fun-loving side. He was a kind and devoted husband and partner to his wife Mary. He loved his boys, Vince and Damon, and was very proud of the men that they became. Gordy was predeceased by his parents, Glen and Rachael, and siblings Ramona, Gerald, Tom and Becky. He is survived by his loving wife, Mary Read; sons Vince and Damon; siblings Nancy, Norma, Judy and Debb; grandchildren Shane, Sami and Amanda; great-grandchildren Zack and Andrew; aunt Joyce Wright; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews, and wonderful friends and neighbors. To know Gordy was to know he also loved his dogs, Shadow and Abby, who were his constant companions and who were devoted to him and gave him great joy.

At his request, there will be no public services. A private gathering will be held at the Williams family cemetery in Iaqua at a later date. Arrangements have been made at Wiers Mortuary Chapel in Crescent City.

Donations may be made in his memory to the ALS Foundation ( or the Del Norte County Animal Shelter.

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