Teiwaz Taliesen Steenblock Smith, born January 8, 1987, passed on with his beloved wolf, Katchi, by his side on December 18, 2019, at the age of 32. A lifelong part of the Willow Creek community, Teiwaz was never happier than when he was in nature — climbing trees, kayaking, backpacking, snowboarding, or swimming in the Trinity River — or with family and friends, singing and making music, juggling, dancing, and sharing a bonfire under the stars.

Teiwaz had an infectious joy and unparalleled zest for life. He radiated love, living up to his middle name, Taliesen, which means “shining brow.” He would light up any room that he entered and effortlessly made friends with everyone, everywhere he went, with his genuineness, charm, and generosity. Teiwaz was a true original, one who loved deeply and lived exuberantly and authentically. 

Attending Trinity Valley Elementary and Arcata High School, Teiwaz sang in the Madrigal Choir, ran track, and played soccer, and was awarded for sustainable energy research by county and state science fairs for inventing a breakthrough hydrogen storage solution that he dubbed Hydrofoam. Teiwaz attended the University of California at Santa Barbara (UCSB), where he double majored in Chemistry and Environmental Studies and played Black Tide Ultimate Frisbee — the team would remain an important touchstone throughout his life. He had a brilliant mind, undertaking advanced solar energy research with Nobel laureates at UCSB, carrying out CO2 sequestration projects, and working at All Power Labs developing biomass-powered generators. Teiwaz found adventures all over the world, including multiple trips to his adopted home, Brazil — where he journeyed solo up the Amazon River, teaching indigenous communities how to build low-cost solar panels — and Asia and Latin America, where he developed bioenergy projects. Teiwaz Taliesen remained integral to his family’s homestead, vision, and projects, including forest restoration and Circus Nature’s educational performances. He was committed to improving the world, and he lived out his values as a champion for the Earth. Katchi, Teiwaz’s wolf, was his constant companion and shared Teiwaz’s big heart, intelligence, and deep loyalty — his spirit animal in the truest sense of the word. They are gone far too soon, but they will live forever in our hearts and memories.

Teiwaz Taliesen’s inspirations are carried on by his parents, Bede and Denise Steenblock Smith; his sisters, Ariel and Tinuviel Steenblock Smith; his brother, Brook Nichols; his uncle, Mike Steenblock; his grandmother, Bobbie Ahern; and his grandparents, Fredric and Sandra Gey; and countless other loving family members and friends.

There will be a celebration of Teiwaz Taliesen’s Life and Gifts in mid-February. In lieu of sending flowers, the family requests you to reach out kindly in care of all beings as we re-create and restore our world. Contributing to wolf conservation, the Northcoast Environmental Center, and support for indigenous people and others protecting our environment and Earth are all appropriate ways to honor Teiwaz.


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