Loberta Bartlett Gwin passed away on November 2, 2021 at Timber Ridge in McKinleyville at the age of 98.

Loberta was born in Rio Dell (Stephenson Hollow) on December 19, 1922. She had two sisters and a brother, both sisters are deceased, one just recently. She lived in Lake County for a short time, but resided in Humboldt County most of her life. Loberta attended elementary school in Rio Dell, Yager Creek, Hydesville, and graduated eighth grade at Rohnerville Elementary School. She graduated from Fortuna Union High School in 1940.

After graduation, Loberta worked as a secretary/clerk for Robert Newell in Fortuna and later as a waitress in Fortuna. She spent a year at Asilomar on a government project, was a telephone operator in South San Francisco, and worked for the California Barrel Factory in Arcata.

Loberta married Donald W. Gwin after World War II. They lived in Arcata and Blue Lake before moving to McKinleyville in 1950, where their three children, Barry, Gerald, and Donette were born. While the children were growing up, Loberta attended College of the Redwoods and Humboldt State University obtaining her AA in Library Technology. She was subsequently employed as the librarian at the McKinleyville Elementary School, where she enjoyed her job and the students for 28 years.

Loberta traveled extensively. In Norway, she and her husband, Donald, visited his relatives. She has made several return trips to Norway. Loberta and Don toured many parts of Canada and the United States. After her husband passed away, a teacher friend, Pauline Webster, became her traveling partner touring the British Isles and eight of the European countries. She and Pauline also visited China, Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, and Hawaii. She also took a cruise up the Inland Passage to Alaska and with Pauline took a guided tour in South America. Africa is the only continent she didn’t visit. She made several attempts to tour a part of Africa, but something always foiled her plans.

During her children’s school years, Loberta belonged to the PTA (Parent Teachers Association), was a den mother for Cub Scouts and a member of CSEA. After retiring from school in 1991, she belonged to the state CSEA and helped organize the retiree luncheons for the McKinleyville Elementary School. During her working years, Loberta attended quite a few of the state CSEA conventions and most of the local conventions.

In the past, Loberta attended the United Methodist Church in Arcata for many years, was a member of the Humboldt Historical Society, the Humboldt Pioneers, and was on the board of the Humboldt County Library (McKinleyville Branch). For 20 years, she was chairperson and organized the drivers for the library’s Author Festival.

Loberta was very active with the Fortuna High School Class of 1940. For several years, she helped with the class reunions and kept in touch with most of the remaining graduates.

A couple of her claims to fame: Loberta rescued the old Washington School bell, which has been placed by the McKinleyville School District Office. She also rescued the old Dows Prairie School bell, which is now located in its proper place at the Dows Prairie School.

Loberta completed a life-long dream by writing and publishing a book entitled “Dow’s North of Mad River” and another book entitled “Hills of Rohnerville”. She was a historian at heart and was always looking up information, especially local history, which kept her busy for many years.

Loberta is survived by her three children, son Barry Gwin currently in Boise, Idaho, son Gerald and his wife Julie Gwin of Santa Rosa, California, and daughter Donette and her husband Ken Morris of Anderson, California; and one grandson Philip and his wife Jennifer Gwin of Brightwood, Oregon. She is also survived by her brother, Elwood and his wife Deanna Bartlett of Arcata, California, and many nieces and nephews.

Loberta was preceded in death by her husband, Donald Gwin, parents Irving and Dora Mary Ransdell Bartlett, her sisters Juanita Bartlett Waggoner and Jean Bartlett Gwin.

Loberta made many special friends throughout her life.

If desired, memorial contributions may be made to the Humboldt County Historical Society, Humboldt Library Foundation, or a charity of your choice.

No services are planned at this time. A celebration of her life in combination with her sister, Jean, will follow at a later date. Loberta’s family would like to thank the staff at Timber Ridge of McKinleyville and Hospice of Humboldt for their caring and compassionate support.


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