Timothy A. Willits
March 2, 1956 - Dec. 27, 2020

Tim was one of the most thoughtful, kind and gentle men one would likely meet. He was built of quiet strength. Words that have been used to describe him are that he was a man of integrity, honesty, loyalty, faithfulness, decency, generosity and wisdom. A statement he left with his wishes to be carried out when the time came was “About My Life: I didn’t always hit all the notes but I had a blast trying!” Despite him saying so, all who knew him know that he lived his life creating a symphony. That beautiful music is now quieted but his life’s song will always be remembered by the many, many people who loved him so very much.

Tim was born at the old General Hospital at Harris and H in Eureka, as a 4th-generation member of a Humboldt family. Other than when attending Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, from which he received his B.A. in photographic sciences in 1980, Tim lived his entire life in Humboldt County. He made this choice in spite of an offer after graduation to travel the world as an assistant to one of the world’s greatest photographers at the time. The most inspiring senior each year was sought out for this distinction and honor. It is a testament to Tim’s love of and dedication to his family and Humboldt County that he chose to remain here for the rest of his life. In doing so, he positively touched many, many lives over the years. During his Brook’s years, Tim worked full-time at a service station, having learned the trade from working with his father at the family’s stations. His favorite anecdote of that time was the pleasure of pumping gas for Jane Fonda.

Tim attended South Bay Elementary School where he was Valedictorian of the graduating 6th grade class. He went on to attend Jacobs Junior High and Eureka High. As unassuming as Tim was, his mother had to find out from Mr. Moenke that a musical composition she heard at one of the high school performances had been composed by Tim. Tim could pick up and learn to play any musical instrument and became more than adept at some of them in short periods of time. He attended CR and HSU before getting his degree at Brooks Institute. He loved school and excelled therein, as he did in all of his endeavors throughout his life.

After graduating from college Tim spent some time in Eureka as a professional photographer working with Jack Anderson. He then went on to spend the rest of his working life at Pacific Gas and Electric Company. During his 30 years with the company Tim was respected for the work he accomplished in many of its divisions and turned down offers to be in management so that he could continue to work in the field. His favorite and final job was being a meter reader until, coincidently with retirement imminent, his services were no longer needed due to the introduction of smart meters.

In retirement Tim involved himself in many activities new to him which brought new and wonderful people into his life and him into theirs. He spent many weeks in 11 years traveling with his husband on 6 continents and to upwards of 40 countries. His delight in these adventures was apparent to all. For many years he was a valued board member of Humboldt Light Opera Company supporting its endeavors in every way he could, sometimes even when it took him out of his comfort zone.

Tim was predeceased by his father, Charlie Willits. He is survived by his partner (of 21 years)/husband Jim Willits, his mother Mary (Marilyn) Willits, his sister Connie Alvara, his brother Chris Willits, his 3 Hicks nephews, Steve, Scott and Stuart, as well as their wives, children, grandchildren, and, recently, great granddaughter, making Tim rejoice in being a great, great uncle. His nephews adored him and spoke of how much they learned from him (how to fish…), sometimes even moreso than from their own father.

Tim never desired to have many things. He was wise enough to know that the people in his life were what needed to be valued. He made sure those people knew their importance to him. He was loving, well-loved and will be missed by more of the community than he might ever have imagined. He is deserving of it all.

Tim died at home, the place in all the world where he most loved to be, of a previously undiagnosed health issue. Final arrangements were facilitated by Ayres Family Cremation. A celebration of Tim’s life will be held when everyone can freely gather together again.

The family requests that any donations in Tim’s name be made to Humboldt Light Opera Company, 92 Sunnybrae Center, Arcata, CA 95521.


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