Dena Michelle O’Rourke was born on May 23, 1979 and passed away on August 17, 2019.

Dena was a mother, daughter, sister, auntie, niece, friend and a member of the Yurok Tribe. She worked in the field of health care as a medical assistant. She received her medical assistant certification from College of the Redwoods. She also worked as a caregiver for elders. She always had a special way and respect with elders. She collected turtles and more recently began collecting fairies. As is a family tradition, she enjoyed a good game of Wahoo, and the possibility of seeing someone get skunked. For the past year she enjoyed beading and created beautiful jewelry for friends and family.

In her thirties she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. When her mom asked her what she could do for her, Dena responded, “Get educated.” She wanted people to learn more about mental illness so that they can be more understanding and compassionate towards those who are struggling. Dena was also diagnosed with fibromyalgia. This was especially challenging for her, yet she still did not give up. She took everything day by day. She was inspiring to those around her and shared her life lessons with the hopes that it would help others.

Dena loved her three sons fiercely and her four nieces compassionately. She had the gift of loving others without judgement and with acceptance.

Dena is survived by her 3 sons, Tyberious, Jarich, & Howard Henderson. Her mother Mary O’Rourke (Brett), brother Greg O’Rourke (Elizabeth) and her sister Erica O’Rourke (Shane). Nieces Chu-Cheesh O’Rourke, Charlene Juan, Dakota & Mary Ferguson. Uncles: Kenny Roubidoux, Rick Roubidoux, Sr., Tiger O’Rourke (Elizabeth) & Thomas O’Rourke, Sr. (Sherry) Aunties: Darlene Roubidoux (Frank), Carole Lewis (Vernon), Valerie O’Rourke, Patti Gibbens (Roger), Kay Inong (Rudy) & Margo Robbins, and too many cousins to name individually. We would like to acknowledge her cousin & best friend Camellia (Sister) Roubidoux and the special bond they had. We would also like to thank Rodney & Kathleen Vigil for your prayers.

She was preceded in death by: her father Dennis O’Rourke; grandparents: Richard & Lorraine O’Rourke, Howard & Bernice Roubidoux; uncles Richard O’Rourke II, Daniel O’Rourke & Ronnie Roubidoux; aunties: Charlene Betsillie & Carmelita Nahsonhoya.

There will be visitation at Paul’s Chapel in Arcata on Friday, August 23 from 5 to 8 p.m. Services will be at the Johnson’s Shaker Church on Saturday, August 24, at 1 p.m.

Pallbearers are: Greg O’Rourke, Shane Ferguson, Kenny Duncan, Adam Roubidoux, Joe O’Rourke & Rick O’Rourke, III. Honorary pallbearers are: Tyberious, Jarich & Howard Henderson, Rick Roubidoux, Sr, Kenny Roubidoux, Tiger O’Rourke, Thomas O’Rourke and all of her male 1st cousins.

Please join us for a potluck reception following the services at Morek Won.


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