Lou Mihalka, DC, passed away peacefully Friday, December 6, 2019. Surrounded by love, Lou left this Earth with his wife Nancy, of 47 years, daughter Chloe and granddaughter Scarlett by his side.

Born to George and Lidya Mihalka, Lou was raised in Oceanside and Long Beach, sailing with his two brothers, Gene and Dennis, and his sisters, Pat and Sharon. Always beloved, he was his high school graduating class president, from Millikan High.

Lou moved to Humboldt County in 1969 upon leaving the Air Force Academy, where he had played middle linebacker for their football team. Lou was greatly affected by the politics of the day and like many he searched for a place where he felt his views reflected in his community. Humboldt became his home.

Shortly after moving to Humboldt and while working at Whole Earth Natural Foods, Lou met the love of his life, Nancy Portalupi. They met and that was it for Lou, he was smitten until he passed away. Throughout their marriage they enjoyed traveling whenever they could, sharing these adventures with family and friends. Their home welcomed friends and encouraged lively conversations and debates.

A committed environmentalist, he worked at CETA, overseeing winter solarization for low income families. An intensely curious man often referred to as a gentle giant, Lou never stopped learning. Throughout his life he sponsored many local artists in various ways and could be found at community events, farmers markets and kinetic sculpture races.

Lou found his calling as a healer and became a doctor of chiropractic, graduating with honors from Palmer School of Chiropractic in 1983. Returning to Arcata to open his practice, Mad River Chiropractic, he was able to combine his commitment to healing and compassion with his technical and mechanical expertise. His patients loved and respected Lou, many becoming friends over the years. Lou practiced chiropractic until his illness made it no longer possible.

Lou was at his core a family man, fiercely loyal and adoring. He and his daughter Chloe were very close and shared many adventures and lively discussions. Chloe was the light of his life. He adored being a father and could not have imagined the joy expanded but then he became a grandfather. Scarlett brought joy to Lou daily and in her eyes he became the fixer of all broken things.

In his later years Lou found great peace and comfort walking on the beach with Max, his dog, and friends. Friday nights were spent with long time pals losing at poker and enjoying the precious moments that life has to offer.

Lou leaves behind a marriage of 47 years, 50-year friendships and a lesson for those who knew him of accepting one’s life as it is and continuing to enjoy life, live well and give love.

The family would like to thank their friends for staying next to Lou’s side the last weeks of his life. Thank you to Dr. Gary Garcia for his long years of excellent care and to Dr. Chris Lee for his great care when Dr. Garcia retired.

The family would also like to thank the doctors of Mad River hospital. A special thanks to the nurses of Mad River Hospital and with great gratitude for the many years of care, thank you to the nurses and staff of Mad River Home Health Care.

A Celebration of Life is scheduled for February 9, 2020, starting at 2 p.m., and will be held at Baywood Country Club located in Arcata. Please bring your stories and memories to share.


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