LaReida Viola Williams
March 18, 1938 - July 14, 2022

LaReida Viola Williams was born on March 18, 1938, in Arcadia, Utah, to Maggie Viola Woodard (Mecham) and LaVon Willard Woodard. She came into this world as a very sick baby and her parents had to rush her in a horse-lead wagon to Salt Lake City to a doctor, only to be told to bring her home and make her as comfortable as possible because she was not expected to survive. But, God had other plans. She was a fighter and a survivor and went on to live a full life of 84 years. She lived in Provo, Utah; then, moved to Little Valley, California; and when she was five her family decided to move to John Day, Oregon, for work in the mills. When she was eight, her family moved to Arcata because her Aunt Lylas told them it was t-shirt weather all year ‘round and there were mill jobs galore. At first, they lived in a tent camp behind the mill her dad worked at; then, they moved to Warren Creek; and finally, when Mom spotted a piece of land for sale close to town, her dad bought it and built their home on Spear Avenue. Little did Mom know that a boy who lived down the street would become her husband someday. Mom met Forrest Williams when he was on leave from the Navy and they were married on October 11, 1957. They lived in McKinleyville for a few years, where their first child was born, Sheila. Then, Mom and Dad moved to 29th Street in Arcata where Mom lived for 62 years. In 1961, exactly two years after their firstborn child, they had a bouncing baby boy, Mike. Then, in 1967, their third child was born — Judy.

Mom’s main career was just that, being our Mom. Mom enjoyed having her kids close by to her and always said that Mother’s Day was every day for her. During high school, she worked at Bims in Arcata. Once she had her kids, she stayed at home and was the best Mama ever. Her first job (not paid) after having her kids was going to kindergarten and part of first grade with Judy because Judy needed her Mama. When Judy was eight, Mom went back to work at Bims as night manager, but that only lasted a week because we just couldn’t handle it without Mom at home. Then, she went to work at Holiday Gardens for Jess and Omega Smith, who gave her a much better schedule for her to be Mom at home and work out. She also worked for Motel 6; and then, she worked in the cafeteria at Mad River Hospital for 15 years until her second grandchild, Caleb, was born and she quit so her and Dad could take care of him, which they truly enjoyed. Mom had two grandsons, Randy and Caleb, who were 20 years apart so they both got to benefit from Mom’s full attention.

Mom is survived by her kids, Sheila (Kevin) Foreman, Mike (Corina) Williams, and Judy Blanchard; her grandsons, Randy (Kerstin) Williams and Caleb Blanchard; her great granddaughters, Nora Williams and Lea Williams; her special little friend, Audrie; her sister-in-law, Earlene Williams; and many nieces and nephews. She was preceded in death by her husband, Forrest Williams; her parents, LaVon and Maggie Woodard; her son-in-law, Art Blanchard; her brother and sister-in-law, Melvin and Mary Woodard; her brother-in-law, Gene Williams; her sister-in-law, Marilee Unruh; and her sister-in-law, Evelyn Logan.

Mom will be remembered as a very nurturing, caring person. You could always find her in the kitchen cooking, and nobody went hungry in her house. She loved to bake cookies and make her special fudge at Christmastime. Mom was known as our “Pioneer Lady” - for example, if you broke a bone and it wasn’t sticking out, just wrap it in cardboard and you’ll be fine. She never owned a modern appliance – no microwave, no dishwasher, no computer, no cell phone. She was simple and true to the core. Before going to bed at night, instead of watching TV, she preferred reading a western book. If she didn’t have a car, no problem, she would walk. Rain, sleet or snow, as kids we were told a little rain won’t hurt you, go outside and play. Mom gave us kids a lot of freedom to do what we wanted; but we knew if something didn’t work out, we could always come back home. Mom was always home and loved to hear from her kids. She taught us to be responsible, happy and content.

Mom loved animals, especially cats and dogs – her own as well as all of her neighbors’ pets. She fed many stray animals, and I even remember a stray cat who had kittens up in our attic. She carried milk bones in her pocket for all her doggy friends. Mom and Dad used to walk out at Blue Lake where they would feed the squirrels. Mom could actually call the squirrels and they would come out from wherever they were hiding and see her, and they knew that she would have peanuts for them.

This down-to-earth lady’s choice of activity was square dancing and walking, and jump roping. She also did a “camel walk,” which she even tried doing with her walker. She liked going to Patrick’s Point and walking down to Agate Beach. When she was younger and had all us kids at home, in the summertime Mom and Dad would pack up our little green Volkswagon and drive up to Willow Creek/Hoopa (which took much longer than it does now) to pick blackberries and play at the river. We would even bring Grandma and our dog – it was a tight fit, but we managed. Mom and Dad never took us to extravagant, commercialized places, but we did go to Yellowstone in the summer of 1971 along with Grandma and our dog, Foxy; and if you have ever watched National Lampoon’s Vacation movie, we lived it. We were towed over the Snake River with all of us in the car, got lost in Yellowstone with Mom reading the map, had flat tires all the way there, lost (but found) our dog, lost Sheila while she was shopping in Jackson Hole and found her when we took a ride on a horse drawn wagon around town, among many other funny mishaps that happened on that vacation; but we had one heck of a spectacular 4th of July on our little street when we got back home with all our fireworks.

Thank you to all our neighbors on 29th Street for sharing your lives with Mom and looking out for her, and especially Willie Gallacci, who was Mom and Dad’s neighbor for 62 years and was a very dear friend of Mom’s. Thank you to all the clerks at Westwood Market where she shopped for the past 50 years for being so kind and friendly to Mom.

We will be having a family graveside service. In lieu of flowers, Mom would want you to enjoy the simple things in life, take care of yourself and your family, be kind to others, and always give a helping hand to those in need, humans and animals alike. Mom, we will miss you forever and treasure all of our memories of you!!


The obituary above was submitted by LaReida Williams’ loved onesThe Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email