Gary Michael Windbigler
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Gary Michael Windbigler
  • November 19, 1941 - September 30, 2010
  • Blocksburg, California

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Gary Windbigler

Left this world on September 30, 2010, about a mile from where he was born. He arrived to parents Jack and Harriet Windbigler on November 19, 1941, in Fortuna, Calif. He spent a happy childhood in Orick with his mother and step-father, and summers near Bridgeville with his grandmother. He graduated from Arcata High School in 1959. He joined the Army in the fall of that year and was proud to be the youngest tank commander in his battalion at 19. He was faced off with the Russians during the Berlin Crisis in 1961. It was also in Germany that he became a lifelong fan of Johnny Cash after having a drink with him in a bar. He didn't realize who Cash was until he got up to go on stage to sing. After he returned home from the service, he attended Shasta College in Redding, where he met and married his best friend, Beverley. Together they raised two daughters on a little ranch between Bridgeville and Blocksburg. They were married 46 years. Gary spent his career working in logging and construction. He got his contractor's license and ran a small construction business before joining the Operating Engineers Local 3. He was an accomplished heavy equipment operator and exceptional on the 966 loader. He retired in 2003. Education was important to him for his children and grandchildren. He also returned to school later in life, attending College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State's program for veterans. Gary was a good athlete who was involved in sports throughout his life. He played on the 1957 undefeated Arcata High football team and was a member of the Northwestern California Sahrine All-Star team. Over the years, he was a team roper, fishing guide, basketball coach, cyclist, trap shooter, and football and hockey fan. He loved to hunt, but didn't care much about trophies. He would sometimes say, "I don't care if I shoot it. Why not let the next guy see it?" He also enjoyed photography and was often satisfied with just a taking a picture. One of his fondest memories was of the time he spent at the Orick and Eureka movie theaters as a kid. He had a seemingly encyclopedic knowledge of actors from the 1940s and '50s, and appreciated independent films with good dialogue and story lines. He will be remembered by his friends and family for his unique perspective on life. Nobody saw the world quite like Gary. He was a skilled storyteller and an original thinker who was interested in philosophy and history. He also loved a good prank. He was the kind of man who would do things for other people and never mention a word about it. He didn't need credit. We hope that wherever he is now, he recognizes Johnny Cash this time. He leaves his wife, Beverley, daughters Kristin and Stacy Windbigler, granddaughters Shawnee and Shayln Windbigler, grandson Carson Barcus, son-in-law Carl Barcus, sister and brother-in-law Tanya and Claude Coleman, sister and brother-in-law Jackie Ann and Stan Amos, step-brother Bob Bushnell, nephews Ryan Stoltz, Marcus Coleman, Jeremy Coleman, Kristopher Coleman, and Randy McCanless, mother-in-law Kathryn Crowe, sister-in-law Donna Crowe, and step-mother Ann Windbigler. He is survived by numerous other relatives. He will be missed by many good friends and trap shooting buddies. He was preceded in death by his grandmother Geraldine Friel, his mother and father, step-father AZ Williamson, step-brother Bill Bushnell, father-in-law Don Crowe, sister-in-law Judy McDermott, and Bill Baker. At his request there will be no funeral service. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date. Donations can be made to Hospice of Humboldt, 2010 Myrtle Avenue, Eureka CA 95501; Evergreen Lodge, 2711 Dolbeer Street, Eureka CA 95501; or the June Burgess Scholarship Fund, PO Box 122, Blocksburg CA 95514. Care is under the direction of Pierce Mortuary, Eureka, California. Condolences may be left at www.piercemortuarychapels.com.

Published in Eureka Times-Standard from October 5 to October 6, 2010