It is with such sadness that we announce the passing of our son, Zakary Michael Avila. Zak was born on February 25, 1997 and passed away on January 18, 2023. Son of Jerry and Leslie Avila; brother to Ryker, Scott, Kim and Jamie; father to Niklaus and Violet; stepfather to Hunter.

Zak grew up in Eureka, attending Arcata Christian School, Freshwater Elementary, Saint Bernards Academy, Eureka High School and graduating Pacific View Charter School. He loved and made friends with so many of his teachers and other staff through the years.

Zak and Ryker were only 10 months apart in age. They were inseparable when they were little — whether it was wrestling each other, playing legos, video games, trekking through the forest or watching their favorite shows together. Some of their favorite places to go were Grandpa Mike’s and Grandma Donna’s, Grandma Evelyn’s, sister Kim or Jamie’s house, or brother Scott’s house.

We have lived in our same home all of Zak’s life where so much time was spent with Ryker and his nephews Trevyn and Tyce in their younger years. They loved running through the sprinklers, riding bikes, lemonade stands, building forts, attempting to spend the night in the tree house until a raccoon ran them out of there, air soft wars and hours and hours of jumping on the trampoline.

Zak’s friendly nature has allowed us to meet many of our neighbors. Even as a toddler on our stroller ride walks always wanting to see if Loretta was home, who became a second grandma to Zak and Ryker throughout all of these years.

From the age of five and on up when we would ask him what he wanted for his birthday or Christmas the answer was always the same: guns and knives. Each one was unique and he loved them all. His favorite day of the year was “shoot day” at Aunt Laurie’s and Uncle Tom’s.

In Zak’s early teenage years he met his lifelong friend Buddy, a.k.a. Gordon. They shared so many fun times together riding quads, fishing, camping and even sinking together in their home made boat made of cardboard.

When Zak was very little he was completely impressed with anyone that was doing hard physical labor — work boots, hard hats, chainsaws, weed eater — you name it, he loved it. Zak loved heavy equipment and had such a natural ability to do amazing work. He was very proud to get his Class A truck driver’s license at 18 years old. Zak was very creative and talented — he loved making beautiful burl tables and cool wooden bowls as well as many other hand made gifts. He was very generous and thoughtful — he loved to surprise you with something that you had wanted or got you something because he just knew you would like it. We will all miss his big smile, amazing problem solving qualities and his awesome tractor skills.

Zak was so loved and will be missed by his dad and mom; Jerry and Leslie Avila; brother Ryker Avila; brother Scott Avila (Hayley); sister Kim Mullins (Daman); sister Jamie Biagi (Victor); son Niklaus; daughter Violet; stepson Hunter; nephews Trevyn, Tyce, Silas and Jag; nieces Brooklyn, Taylee and Cheyenne; grandmother Donna Wallace; and numerous aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.

It meant a lot to Zak to meet his biological family and he was very happy that he was able to connect with each of them: father, Boyd; mother; Crystal; sister, Sara; brothers Richard, Adam and Kaden.

We love you our Zakky boy — you will never be forgotten.

There will be a Celebration of Life for Zak on Saturday March 4, 2 p.m. at the Moose Lodge, 4329 Campton Road, Eureka. Please bring photos or stories if you would like to share.


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