Sally Lee Upatisringa
June 1943 – June 2019

Sally Upatisringa passed away June 17, 2019 at her home in Eureka, with her husband Vis and family at her side. She was born June 16, 1943 in Medford. Sally was the first child born to Cliff and Vera Bailey, and had five siblings. Donna York (Roger) and Jeff Bailey preceded her in death. She is survived by her brothers Robert Bailey (Gail) of Medford, Bill Bailey (Linda) of Stayton, David Bailey (Diane) of Sparks, Nevada, and her husband of 54 years, Visutdhi Upatisringa of Thailand and the United States.

Sally graduated from Crater High School in Central Point and Oregon State University with a BA in Elementary Education. It was at Oregon State where she met her husband-to-be, Vis Upatisringa. They were married in 1965. Sally taught elementary school in Oregon before she and Vis moved to Eureka in 1969, when Vis accepted a teaching position at Humboldt State University.

It was in Humboldt County where Sally’s unique strengths were put to work. She made abiding connections with people and had a strong sense of purpose. When she joined the Humboldt League of Women Voters she took up their cause with a quiet passion. Sally believed that an informed electorate and greater voter participation could help achieve social justice. She was a life-long member of the HLWV, and was the only local member to have ever served on the state board of the California League of Women Voters. In 1992, Sally was the first person to receive the prestigious Civic Contribution Award, presented by the HLWV at the first State of the Community Luncheon.

Sally was also one of Humboldt County’s greatest library advocates. She was a member of the Library Construction Advisory Committee, and chaired the campaign that built the new Main Branch Library in Eureka. It was an effort that lasted over a decade and involved thousands of hours of work, soliciting hundreds of supporters and working with many volunteers. In 1996, she co-founded the Humboldt Library Foundation, where she served as an officer and board member for over ten years. In 2005, Sally received the Helen Everett Award from HLF for her outstanding contributions in support of the public library.

Foremost, Sally was an inspiring and thoughtful public speaker. She was an active member of First United Methodist Church, where she served as a Lay Leader for many years. She supported her church, celebrated her faith and brought inspiration to fellow congregants.

Sally loved to read, travel, and ride her two horses, Stella and Lucy. Sally and Vis loved spending time at Pine Lodge, their home in the mountains between Ashland and Klamath Falls, Oregon. She especially enjoyed when she could spend time there with her whole family, or take trips there with her Friday Group friends from her church.

Finally, when Sally was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis over 30 years ago, she faced its debilitating challenges with quiet dignity. She left this world with grace and will remain in the hearts of those whom she loved. The family wishes to thank Sally’s caregivers, Mary McLean and Krystal Hughes, who cared for her lovingly through these last few years.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a contribution be made in her memory to either the First United Methodist Church, the Sally Upatisringa Endowment Fund at the Humboldt Library Foundation (PO Box 440, Eureka, CA 95502) or the Vis and Sally Upatisringa Education Fund at the Humboldt Area Foundation (363 Indianola Rd., Bayside, CA 95524).

A memorial service will be held on Friday, June 28, at 2 p.m. at the First United Methodist Church, 520 Del Norte Street, Eureka.


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