Winfield Allen Shoemaker was born in Ojai, California. on April 18, 1930 and passed away peacefully in his sleep in McKinleyville on the 3rd of April, 2019, just shy of his 89th birthday.

Win was raised in Santa Barbara and Ojai by his parents, Rexford and Dorothy Shoemaker, and graduated from Nordoff High School and San Francisco State University. He was a gifted and beloved teacher who taught many subjects, including English, political science, history, drama and Communications Media at San Rafael, Santa Barbara and Fort Bragg High Schools, as well as Cal State LA and College of the Redwoods. It was while teaching at Santa Barbara High School that he met Elizabeth Ann McFadden, a fellow English teacher, who became the cherished love of his life. They married in Geneva, Switzerland in 1959, and spent the first year of their marriage living in Europe.

For two terms in the 1960s Win held public office as California State Assemblyman representing Santa Barbara. During these years he held the position of Democratic Caucus Leader in the Assembly, was a delegate to the 1968 Democratic Convention, and was instrumental in Robert Kennedy’s California campaign for president. While in office Win worked passionately on issues that he believed in, focusing on education, consumer protection and gun control, writing California’s first comprehensive gun control bill.

After their years in Sacramento while he was in office, Winfield and Elizabeth moved to Fort Bragg, where they remained for 30 years. They loved the Mendocino Coast and raised their children there. Win loved being in the natural beauty of the area, and cultivated an impressive garden amid the redwoods. They were active members of the community, particularly their church community at Saint Michael’s and All Angels Episcopal Church. After teaching high school for several years, Win went on to be the editor-in-chief of the Fort Bragg Advocate News. In 2005 they moved to McKinleyville to be closer to family. They found a vibrant community rich in friends, including those from Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arcata and the group they would gather with at Ramone’s Bakery twice weekly, a place they jokingly called the COU (the Center of the Universe) because it meant so much to them.

In October of 2018 Elizabeth passed away after a decline due to Alzheimer’s disease. Winfield lovingly saw her through the end of her life, and through her departure. Though he will be missed terribly by his family, friends, former students, colleagues and the baristas at Ramone’s, we honor the brilliant and big-hearted man that he was, his intelligence, grace, and charm still casting their influence.

Winfield was preceded in death by his wife, Elizabeth Shoemaker; son, Matthew Shoemaker; and brother, Nathan Shoemaker. He is survived by his daughter Jennifer McFadden and son-in-law Brent Jenkins; daughter Laura Rothman and son-in-law Eli Rothman; daughter-in-law Kim Shoemaker; grandchildren Lindsay Barthelman (and husband Matt), Caitlin Shoemaker, Lily, Shalom, Mushky and Mendel Rothman and Sophie Jenkins; great-grandson Bryce Bathelman; and many beloved nieces and nephews.

A memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 18, 2019 at Saint Alban’s Episcopal Church in Arcata at 1 p.m. Memorial donations may be made to the ACLU, California State Parks or the cause of your choice.


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