Earl Leroy Moranda
October 23, 1937 – February 19, 2021

Earl “Big E/Pepaw/Peeps” Leroy Moranda, age 83, of Arcata passed away Friday, February 19, 2021. He was born on October 23, 1937.

Earl was preceded in death by his parents Walter and Marguerite, his brother Allen, and his wife Patricia “Pat” Moranda. He is survived by his son, Brett Moranda and wife Tina; his daughter, Traci Moranda; grandchildren; Julianna & fiancé Dave Vogelsang; Isabella & boyfriend Jake Hanson; Sophia, and Vincenzo; and great-grandchildren Viviana and baby Hazel. Earl is also survived by his cousin Marjorie Mercola and her son Thomas MacArthur; along with his sister-in-law, Mary Lou Smith and nieces, Michelle Tuel, Kathy Duncan, and great-nieces Cheyenne and Lily.   

He grew up on the family dairy ranch in the Arcata bottoms, where he developed his strong work ethic and love for duck hunting.  Earl attended Arcata High School where he was an All-County athlete in football and baseball, graduating in 1955. He then proceeded to college at Humboldt State College where he played baseball. After one year, he transferred to Shasta Junior College to study Criminal Justice. While at Shasta College, he played both football and baseball. During these years, he established many lifelong friends and shared many great memories. He graduated from Shasta College with an associate degree in 1959.

Following college, he returned to Arcata, where he became a police officer with the City of Arcata. In the same year, he also became an Arcata volunteer Firefighter, in which he was an active member for 45 years.

On July 17, 1961, Earl married the love of his life, Pat Gaines. They were happily married for 52 years, until Pat passed away in 2013. Within the first year of their marriage, he was activated from the army reserves during the Cuban Missile Crisis.

In 1965, after the birth of his son Brett, he decided to become a probation officer due to it being higher paying and not having to do shift work as a police officer. In 1969, his daughter Traci was born, which completed their family. He continued to work at the Humboldt County Probation Department until 1977. Earl then changed careers and became an insurance agent for Cal Farm Insurance. He later started the Earl Moranda Insurance Agency out of his grandmother’s home which he converted into a beautiful office, located at 11th and K St in Arcata, currently Dutchy’s Pizza. Earl worked in the insurance industry for over 25 years where he thrived utilizing his best attribute; building long-lasting friendships with his customers and other agents in the industry. His philosophy was simple, “treat your customers like they’re your family.”

When Earl turned 65, he retired and sold his insurance business.  He and Pat were able to travel extensively throughout the US and abroad but spending time with the grandchildren was their priority.  You could always find them watching their grandchildren play sports from the early ages up through high school.  Earl and his son, Brett, enjoyed working on projects together, whether it was renovating a bathroom or building fences, just to name a few.  They enjoyed their weekly lunches discussing what their next projects would be.  Earl had a passion for good wine!  He and Pat enjoyed many trips visiting Traci in Santa Rosa to enjoy the beautiful weather and wine tasting adventures throughout Sonoma and Napa.

Earl’s love of sports never wavered.  He and Pat loved attending the home games for the HSU Basketball team for 40+ years and were season ticket holders.  His most recent passion was cheering on the University of Oregon Ducks football team and attending a handful of games every year.

Earl was exceptionally proud of his grandchildren and was an active participant in their daily lives. He had a nickname for them all!  He loved seeing his eldest grandchild Julianna (Jules) become a new mother, Isabella (Izra) complete undergrad in Human Physiology at U of O, Sophia (British Girl) continuing her undergrad in Advertising at U of O, and most of all he enjoyed having his grandson Vinnie (Vinster) live with him and help with his rentals for the past year. Becoming a great-grandfather to Viviana was another huge milestone for him and he was looking forward to meeting his new great-granddaughter Hazel this past March.

Earl became a devoted member of the Wesleyan Church of McKinleyville where he developed many new friendships. He was extremely passionate for his faith and attended most Sunday services and numerous church events.

Earl was a well-liked person around this community and was especially known for his great humor, infectious smile, and generosity. He truly cared for others around him. He could talk your ear off and tell the best stories with his amazing long-term memory. He created a beautiful coffee table book in which he wrote about his life growing up on his family’s ranch titled, “The Haymow” that included his favorite pictures throughout his childhood.  Earl was fondly referred to as the “walking Arcata landmark”, as his knowledge of the history of Arcata was extensive.

In January 2018, Earl adopted his beloved companion, his dog, Prince Riley. While lounging in his recliner, he loved having Riley sit on his lap and have him show off his tricks. He enjoyed taking him on truck rides to the ranch, around town and to Burger King for some treats. 

Earl cherished his friendships, both old and new including friendships that started at the age of six, the neighborhood kids he used to get in trouble with at the ranch, high school and college friends, and many more throughout his entire life.  After retirement, he and Pat met new friends who they loved to travel with.  Earl had a passion for cooking, you could find them hosting big dinners with friends and parties with all.  Russ and Berit Locatelli had a special place in Earl’s heart. He introduced Russ to the Arcata Fire Department and took him under his wing. Wade and Sabrina DeLashmutt were also considered family and Earl enjoyed “supervising” Wade on all of his many projects. 

Earl lived a full and prosperous life. He was loved so much by his family and friends and will be greatly missed.  We want to thank all his friends and the community for all the kindness and generosity during this difficult time.  As he said, “It has been a good ride”. 

Due to the pandemic, a celebration of life will be held in the near future.  In lieu of flowers, the Moranda family requests donations to be made to the following organizations of your choice; The Salvation Army and the Humboldt County Animal Shelter in McKinleyville. 


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