Otis Skaggs passed away on May 28, 2018 at home with family and friends gathered to celebrate Memorial Day. He was born in Lenna, Oklahoma on August 17, 1935 and moved to California when he was three years old with his parents Raymond and Pauline Skaggs.

He graduated Livermore High School at 16 and then attended Modesto Jr. College, where he excelled in competitive swimming. Otis came to Humboldt State College in 1952 because he heard someone say that “you can major in hunting and fishing.” While at HSU he achieved abBachelor’s degree in Wildlife Management/Science/Education; a Master’s degree in Biology and later course work in School Administration. He served in the Army National Guard during his college years and thereafter. At College of the Redwoods he took courses in law enforcement and later became deputized. He worked while attending college at various sawmills and during the summers worked for the Department of Fish and Wildlife in Alaska tagging huge salmon.

His teaching career at Northern Humboldt Union High School included teaching forestry, biology and science classes for 32 years as well as being principal of Continuation School at McKinleyville. Otis spent the summers fishing with his favorite boat “Joanne” out of Trinidad catching rock fish and salmon, often taking friends or family with him. He helped design and build our home in Fieldbrook where his four children were raised. He enjoyed helping them with their 4-H and FFA projects as well as riding horses and raising cattle. Another passion of Otis’ was hunting and fishing.

After his retirement from teaching, he managed the Skaggs Tree Farm, LLC, raising timber for sale. He was content watching westerns and following the Giants and the 49ers as well as keeping up with the activities of his grandchildren.

Otis was involved in many volunteer organizations including Humboldt County Resource Conservation District; California Association of Resource Conservation Dist., Serving as North Coast Regional Chair; Humboldt County Sherriff’s Marine and Mounted posses; Humboldt Trap and Skeet Club; Farm Bureau and The Buckeye Conservancy. He was a member of Christ The King Catholic Church in McKinleyville and CAL-Retired Teachers Association.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Raymond and Pauline Skaggs; brother, Ray Skaggs; and son, Dr. Steven Otis Skaggs.

He is survived by his wife of 53 ½ years, Joanne, and daughters Cheryl Valley (Randy), Jeanette McGrath, Dr. Julia Skaggs and Erika Clawson (Randy). Otis has ten grandchildren: Tammy and Chris Valley; Sydney, Amy and Cassidy McGrath; Camden and Jasmine Collins and Noah Stover; Steven Skaggs and Jacy Clawson.

A special thanks to the nurses, doctors and staff at Mad River and St. Joseph’s hospitals, Hospice of Humboldt and Granada for the caring and support given to Otis and our family during his final months.

Please join us in celebrating Otis’ life on June 8 at Christ the King Catholic Church, 1951 McKinleyville Ave., McKinleyville for a Mass of Christian Burial. Viewing will start at 11 a.m., Rosary at 12 noon followed by mass; celebrant Rev. Michael Cloney. A Reception follows at the church hall and internment at St. Bernard’s Cemetery.

Donations in his name can be made to the Steve Skaggs Award Endowment Fund at Oregon State University, 850 SW 35th St., Corvallis, OR 97333-4015, or a charity of your choice.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Otis Skaggs’ family. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.