Heaven has gained another angel. With heavy hearts, we sadly announce that our mom, Mary Louise Smith, passed away on June 10, 2022 at the age of 73.

Mary was born in Eureka on September 8, 1948 to Charles Eugene and Norma Hazel (O’Brien) Weeks. She grew up in Blue Lake, where she spent her childhood and teen years. Although she really loved her mom, she was a true daddy’s girl at heart. Everywhere daddy went, she went. She especially loved to go with him to the dairy farm in Arcata, where he was a ranch hand. He would let her help in the ways that she could for a little one, and she cherished those moments. He was there for her every step of the way while she was growing up, and she adored him. He unexpectedly passed in 1973 when she was only 24, and she carried that heartbreak throughout her life. She never got over the loss of her dad. She was also very close with her sister Pat and brother-in-law Earl, and was devastated when they passed as well.

Mom attended grade school and high school in McKinleyville and Blue Lake, graduating from Arcata High School in 1966. While working part time at George Petersen Insurance, she was also pursuing criminal justice and police studies at College of the Redwoods. This is where she met Robert Tuel, who was also pursuing courses in the same field. The two began dating and eventually married in April 1969. They settled in Fortuna, and to them were born two daughters, Michelle Renee and Kathryn Sue. She worked for the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office during this time, a job that she really loved. The family relocated to Rio Dell in 1973, and she decided to go a different direction with her career. She sold Avon for quite a long time, becoming well known around Rio Dell as the Avon lady. She & dad also owned their own clothing store in the Redwood Village Shopping Center for a number of years. She really loved her years in Rio Dell with good friends Mike & Mary and Karen & Dale. She especially enjoyed summers spent at Ruth Lake, where the family owned property. Mom was at her most serene there, spending time with the family at the river or lake, sitting among the trees listening to the birds chirping, enjoying a good campfire, and just the quiet peacefulness and beauty of the area. Mary and Bob divorced in 1981, and she relocated to Eureka with her girls. While living in Eureka she worked as a salesperson at Cardoza’s western wear clothing store on F Street, where she became good friends with Nina Cardoza. In 1984 she relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area, where she worked as a medical records coder for the Contra Costa County Hospital until her retirement. While living in the Bay Area, she met her second husband, Lawrence Smith. The two married in Reno in 1995, and settled in Vallejo. He passed in 2002, and mom eventually moved back to Rio Dell in 2012.

Throughout her life, she made many good friends who she really treasured: Karen (Buntrock) and Dale Bellach, Lavon (Divine) Leal, Carol (Burns) and Larry Nyborg, Becky (Rylander) and Bob Zacher, Patsy (Baiocchi) and Elmer Leighton, Mary (Christen) and Mike Burns, Betty and Chris Rodgers, and so many others. From grade school to high school, to college and beyond - mom really valued her friendships, and was always happy to visit or talk with them. Her good girlfriends meant the world to her, and she loved them so much.

Above all else though mom really treasured her family, especially her granddaughters Cheyenne and Lily. She always loved to see the smiles on their faces; they were her everything. Mom always valued having family dinners at her house. Seeing her family gathered around the table was something that always made her heart happy. Mom also really loved her pets; she absolutely adored her cat Chloe and her dogs Mocha and Moose.

In her free time she loved visiting with friends, watching her westerns and stock car races every weekend, reading a good romance novel, and tending to her flowers and garden. Yellow, pink, and red roses were her favorites. Yellow held a special place in her heart, as those were also her dad’s favorite.

Mary was preceded in death by her father Gene Weeks, mother Norma (O’Brien) Weeks, sister Patricia (Gaines) Moranda, brother-in-law Earl Moranda, and second husband Lawrence Smith. She is survived by her first husband Robert Tuel, daughters Michelle Tuel and Kathy Tuel, granddaughters Cheyenne and Lily Duncan, nephew Brett Moranda (Tina) and niece Traci Moranda, as well as numerous other nieces and nephews.

We miss our mom beyond measure, but we are thankful that she is at peace now, resting with her beloved dad, mom, and sister. We know that we will see her again when it is our time.

Our family would like to thank the staff at St. Joseph Hospital, the staff at Granada Rehabilitation and Wellness Center, and the staff at Fresenius Kidney Care. We are so grateful for the comfort and care given to mom during these most challenging years.

We would also like to give a special thank you to our dad, Robert Tuel, for the many years of continued friendship, care, and support that he gave to mom over the years. It meant a lot to her, and was appreciated beyond measure. We are so incredibly grateful for him.

In lieu of flowers, please consider a donation to Miranda’s Rescue, 1603 Sandy Prairie Rd., Fortuna CA 95540.


The obituary above was submitted by Mary Smith’s loved ones. The Lost Coast Outpost runs obituaries of Humboldt County residents at no charge. See guidelines here. Email news@lostcoastoutpost.com.