Joseph Kurtz
November 25, 1942 - November 22, 2023

The man in motion now has a new heavenly address. The athletically driven Joseph Kurtz was example to all for living life to the fullest with great passion.

Joe was born in Compton, Calif., to Edward and Myrtle (Bigelow) Kurtz. He lived his formative years in the small community of Happy Valley, Calif. Those were the glory days, being raised on 30 acres, with five siblings that thrived on being free-range kids. Using dynamite as a kid to blow up trees, to clear the acreage, was always one of the favorite stories.

Joe attended Anderson High School graduating in 1960, and honored with being the Male Athlete of the class. He was a three-sport athlete participating in football, wrestling and baseball. Joe was the very first AHS wrestler to go to a California State Championship.

In 1962 Joe joined the Air Force. He took his wrestling ability to new heights by winning against all the other services.

In 1966 he set up his own hay hauling company. In the summer heat of the Redding area and Round Valley, Modoc County, he set mental challenges daily to manually move more bales of hay than he did previously.

Joe had a need to be back in a gymnasium. He found employment at Seattle Pacific College. He was getting paid to coordinate all athletes needs and he got free workouts, when the wrestling coach noticed him. Say no more, back on the mat he went, now as a student. At age 29, 190 lbs, he out wrestled those youngsters, making it all the way to fifth in the nation!

While at SPC, and on his way to church, he met his future bride, Doreen. They were married in a small chapel on campus two years later. Joe had a firm foundation in his belief of knowing Jesus as the Son of God.

Joe called Eureka home for 47 years, working for Simpson Timber Co. in Korbel, pulling the green chain and tallyman.

Joe passed on his passion for sport to his two daughters, Lesley and Jovonnie, encouraging (no, demanding) them to shoot 100 baskets each day and lift weights.

Joe found absolute delight in retirement by riding his bicycle 100s of miles each week. Then he added pickleball! When Joe wasn’t on the pickleball courts in Humboldt County, he enjoyed RVing and exploring the world alongside Doreen and their travel companions, the Davises and the Sweets. Their adventures ranged from wintering in Palm Springs and Arizona to sailing through the Panama Canal, Europe, Bali and Australia.

His competitive spirit ran deep his entire life. He only lost one battle, and that was against sepsis.

Joe is survived by his wife of 51 years, Doreen Malloy Kurtz.; daughters Lesley Kurtz Silvestre and Jovonnie Kurtz Gilsvik; son-in-laws Garry Silvestre and Jacob Gilsvik; grandchildren Tyler and Chase Silvestre, Ryker and Roen Gilsvik, all of Sacramento.

His siblings: Audrey Duffy (Flushing, N.Y.), Marian Bohumil (Lee’s Summit, Mo.), Ralph Kurtz (Cedar City, Utah), Kathy Gullixson and Phillip Kurtz (both Eureka). He is also survived by seven nieces and nephews in whom stories of Uncle Joe will live on.

Service will be held in the gymnasium at First Covenant Church, 2526 J Street, Eureka, on January 3 at 2 p.m. In honorarium of Joe, contributions can be made to Triumphant Life Camp, P.O.Box 7156, Eureka, CA 95502.


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