Wilhelmina (“Willy”) H. Fogg passed away at her home in Fortuna on June 9, 2021 at the age of 80. Born in the Netherlands in 1940 to Wilhelminus and Theodora Van Arensbergen, Willy was the fifth of twelve children. She married and immigrated to the United States in 1962 where she worked as a nurse and had two children, Scott and Andrew. Unfortunately her first husband caused her to fear for her safety and she escaped with the boys back to Holland, where they were taken in by her loving parents and siblings. Her demonstration of courage in leaving and their tenderness in caring for her and the boys built in her a sense of strength and empathy that would serve her and so many others she came into contact with for the rest of her life.

She returned to the United States and met the love of her life, Robert Fogg, whose kindness, generosity and enthusiasm for life was a mirror to her own. They were married within three months of meeting and, together, raised the boys, eventually moving to Fortuna in 1975. In Fortuna they found a community they loved.

During those early years she worked nights at Redwood Memorial Hospital while going to school during the day, completing her bachelor’s degree in nursing at Humboldt State University. Her bright smile, short stature, thick accent, sharp wit, and complete lack of “filter” endeared her to friends, colleagues and strangers alike. She was a beloved member of the operating room staff, eventually becoming manager of surgical services for Redwood.

Willy had an indomitable spirit and ability to overcome adversity. Her history with aggressive breast cancer led her to work with “Reach to Recovery,” counseling women in the midst of their own battle. The tragedy of losing her eldest child to suicide pushed her to find new strength as she was called upon many times through the subsequent years to support other families grieving that same loss.

She loved adventure. Regardless of the length, destination, or plan, she’d happily jump into a car or board a plane to seek out new experience. She could throw herself into any situation and experienced life without any sense of shyness. Her joy in even the littlest things broadened her connection to those around her.

Willy was an avid gardener, inspirational quilter and dedicated community servant. All those actively involved in the Eel River Valley community knew Willy Fogg. She was a proud member of the Eel River Quilting Guild, Fortuna Garden Club, Soroptimists and volunteered at the hospital after her retirement, frequently acting as liaison between hospital staff and anxious family members waiting for news on loved ones. She passed suddenly and unexpectedly while preparing her beautiful home and gardens for a visit from the Fortuna Garden Club.

Willy Fogg was preceded in death by her love, Robert Fogg, her eldest son, Scott, her parents, Wim and Dora, and her siblings, Thea, Ton, & Wim.

She is survived by her youngest son, Drew, his wife Elizabeth, her cherished grandchildren, Rowan and Violet and her loving companion of the last two decades, Bill Laferrier. She is also survived by her wonderful siblings, their spouses, and her nieces and nephews residing in Holland whom she visited often. She will be missed by too many close friends to list here, but each of you know how much she truly loved you.

A memorial service will be held Sunday, August 1, at the River Lodge in Fortuna, from 1-4 p.m. In lieu of flowers she would have been so pleased if you donated to one of her favorite places, the Humboldt Botanical Garden. Donations can be made online at hbgf.org.


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