Rodney Arthur Cade, MD passed on October 3, 2019 in the comfort of his home in Willow Creek, with his loving wife, Linda, by his side. He died from complications of heart disease.

Rod was born on June 6, 1953 in Long Beach, California. He was the third of four sons born to Wyeth (“Wink”) and Orpha Cade. Growing up in Southern California, primarily Garden Grove, he spent his time playing in the orange fields and building forts with his brothers and neighborhood friends. Rather than dogs he preferred snakes as pets, much to the dismay of his mother. Rod, along with his brothers, developed a passion for competitive swimming and water polo. As a teenager, he was one of the elite breast stroke swimmers in the United States. In the summers he worked as a life guard patrolling Orange County’s beaches and rescuing wayward swimmers.

After graduating from Garden Grove High School in 1971, Rod attended Stanford University on a water polo scholarship. He graduated in three years with a major in Psychology. Rod went on to attend medical school at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF). While there he met a young nursing student named Linda who would become his wife of 40 years. After medical school, Rod began an orthopedic surgery residency at UCSF. After one year there he decided to take a short break and cover the practice of Dr. Muncheimer of Rio Dell, CA who was leaving for Africa for one year. That one year break turned into forty years of practicing in Humboldt County. After a few years in Rio Dell, he moved his practice to Scotia and worked with Dr. Bob Treadwell until his retirement and then continued the Scotia practice with Dr. Buzz Rigney. While living and working in Scotia, Rod and Linda had 4 children: Alexis, Nathan, Andrea and Justine. After 22 years in Scotia, the family moved to Eureka where Rod joined Dr. Michael Burleson and then Dr. Larry Wieland at Redwood Family Practice. Rod finished out his career at what became his favorite place to work, with Dr. Eva Smith and staff at K’ima:w Medical Center in Hoopa.

Rod’s medical career was only one facet of his life. His interests and talents were many and varied. Rod loved to build things. He learned electrical work from his grandfather, Arthur Briggs, plumbing from his father-in-law, Dick Lawrence and welding from his good friend Gary Brownell; carpentry, wood-working and everything else he taught himself. If he could read about it he could do it. He designed and built the family’s first home, and remodeled the other two homes himself. He also built bicycles, stereos, sound systems, wooden furniture and jewelry boxes. Rod loved to fix things and could fix just about anything – chainsaws, motors, watches, musical instruments, leaky toilets and at times his children’s broken hearts. He was an amazing cook. His children called him “the king of leftovers” as he could open the fridge, find a variety of leftovers and limiting himself to one pot (he hated doing dishes) could remake the ingredients into a great meal. His creativity in meals was outdone only by his storytelling abilities. Rod could make a stubbed toe sound like a near death experience, much to the enjoyment of his friends and family. Rod loved surfing, windsurfing, scuba diving, skiing, bicycle racing and competed multiple times in the Tour of the Unknown Coast Century Ride.

With all the things he loved, Rod loved his family the most. Rod had a t-shirt he loved to wear; across the front it read “Let me drop everything and work on your problem”. He would truly stop anything he was doing and spring into action, happily helping his children with constructions projects, household moves around the US or often just listening to a problem and coming up with a solution or some advice that would help.

Over the last 5 years, during their semi-retirement, Rod’s favorite thing to do was to travel with Linda in their Sprinter van. He customized and built the van into a camper himself. They loved exploring the back roads and little towns of the western United States, especially the southwest. Their favorite camping sites were out of the way, rarely visited areas in national forests and on BLM land. When not out camping the “Blue Whale” often traveled up and down the west coast visiting the kids. That van was a source of so many good times in his last years.

The family especially cherishes the last seven months with Rod, since his heart attack, and the memories and milestones they celebrated together. Seeing his daughter get engaged and attending his son’s wedding were such a source of joy to him. He delighted in learning that his newest grandbaby would be a girl and in teaching his granddaughter to swim in the same pool he taught her mother to swim. And finally, the happiness in celebrating 40 years of marriage.

Rod was intelligent, kind, fun loving, frugal and funny. He has left us with so many good memories but too few years of life on this earth.

Rod is survived by his wife of 40 years, Linda; his son Nathan Cade and wife Page; his daughters, Alexis Wilson and husband Jonny, Justine Erb and husband David, Andrea Cade and fiancée Santiago Aguirre; his mother Orpha Cade; brothers, Jerry Cade (Marilyn), Richard Cade (Sheree), Steven Cade (Mymy); his grandchildren, Zoe and Julian Wilson; his in-laws Shirley and Dick Lawrence, Debbie and John Tully, Dena and Ed Wenzel; many loving nieces, nephews, extended family; and special friends Gary and Betsy Brownell, Ken and Linda Bareilles, Bob Miller, Michael Fox and “The Eureka Gang”. He is preceded in death by his father Wyeth Cade, nephew Christopher Cade, grandniece Selah Chupp and grandnephew Roan Chappelear.

Please share any memories and stories you have of Rod with us. We want to compile them for the family and grandchildren yet to come. You can add them to the comment section or send them to Cade Family, PO Box 253, Willow Creek, CA 95573 or email them to There will be a Celebration of Life next summer in Willow Creek.


The obituary above was submitted on behalf of Rod Cade’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here.