I was born October 5, 1942, in Detroit, Mich., to my dear parents Oscar Thomas Nelson and Dorothy Ruff Stein Nelson. I have taken great joy in my two younger sisters: Cynthia Rocchi (John; Waterbury, Conn.) and Suzanne Dickson (Robert, dec.; Westland, Mich.). In Detroit, I met and married my beloved life partner and dearest friend Richard (Rick) Botzler in November 1963 at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church with a large group of family and friends attending our wedding.

Over the years, Rick and I have felt fortunate to raise five responsible and caring children: Emilisa Botzler-Rodgers (Jimmy); Tin Botzler; Dorothy Davis; Sarah Kennon (Tim); and Thomas Botzler (Lisa). Rick and I have been blessed with several dear grandchildren and great-grandchildren who have been an incomparable delight to us: Ashley De La Concepcion; Tim Kennon, Jr. (Abbey); Thomas Kennon (Jenny); Taylor Kennon; Katie Ogle; Joshua Ogle (Erin); Karie Partridge (Dexter); Jade Marie Newell (Darryl, div.); Tyler A. Blackburn; Aaron M. Blackburn; Tiana Rodgers; Olivia Botzler-Washington; Nathan Botzler; P.J. Rodgers; Nelson Botzler-Washington; Andrew Davis; Kali Sky, Claire Marie, Harlem and Milo; Lilly; Olivia; Adeline; Sawyer; John Roy, Amy and Cecelia; as well as numerous cousins, nieces, and nephews.

Over the years, I have enjoyed special friendships at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church & School (Detroit, Mich.); at Divine Shepherd Lutheran Church (Ann Arbor, Mich.); at Grace Good Shepherd Lutheran-Presbyterian Church (McKinleyville, CA); in the Arcata Interfaith Gospel Choir (Humboldt County); in the Humboldt County Council on Adoptable Children; at the Humboldt County Office of Education and at Humboldt State University; in the Bilingual McKinleyville Ecoclub and at Morris Spanish Immersion School (as a Grandparent Volunteer); in Peace Corps Mexico; in Jalpan de Serra, Querétaro, Mexico; and in the Latino community in Humboldt County. My special friends have included: Óscar Estrada and family, Querétaro, Mexico; Jo Ann Marsh, West Bloomfield, Michigan; Sue Lee Mossman, Trinidad; Mary Nethery, Santa Fe, New Mexico; Heidi Nieden, Neuendettelsau (Nürnberg) Germany; Ariko Sekine, Tokyo, Japan; and Marisol Madriz, McKinleyville. I have felt deeply grateful for the care, concern, and commitment of my loving parents; for each of my remarkable grandparents; and for my many dear aunts, uncles, and cousins. I am grateful to Holt Adoption Services (Holt International) and Lutheran Children’s Friends Society for their support in our adoptions.

I earned degrees in Education at Wayne State University (B.A., 1964; Detroit, Mich.); at Humboldt State University (M.A., 1979; Arcata); and at the University of Southern California (Ph.D., 1989; Los Angeles). I worked as a Curriculum and Staff Development Resource Teacher in Multicultural Education at the Humboldt County Office of Education in Eureka and later as a Professor at Humboldt State University in Arcata, teaching courses in Multicultural Education, Education in Society, Pedagogy, and Teaching in Higher Education. I also served as the Interim Associate Dean for HSU’s College of Professional Studies in 2006-2007. After retiring from HSU in December 2007, Rick and I served as Peace Corps Volunteers for two years in Querétaro, Mexico (2009-2011).

Throughout my personal life, I have firmly believed that God’s Love is revealed in the life of Jesus Christ and that I must endeavor always to “do justice, love mercy, and walk humbly” (Micah 6:8). Both personally and professionally, I have been a strong advocate on behalf of children and youth. I have sought to strengthen the educational opportunities and life chances for all and to encourage international friendships, peace, and understanding. I have valued multiculturalism, multilingualism, and the study of world religions. I have been committed to promoting respect for diverse cultures, languages, and religions. I have supported youth-leadership programs focused on sustainable development based on the belief that well-educated and fair-minded youth can have a lasting impact in solving environmental, social, economic, and political problems in their communities and world.

In 2020 I was diagnosed with Progressive Supranuclear Palsy (PSP) and experienced it slowly depriving me of my capacity to live a normal life. Finally, as an octogenarian who experienced a rich and full life, with no significant unmet goals, I departed this life on April 16, 2023. I am grateful to my family, friends, medical support teams, and CurePSP for their support.

A family graveside internment was conducted for me at Trinidad Cemetery in Trinidad. Those who wish may make memorial contributions in my memory to the Humboldt Area Foundation (HAF) Youth Leadership Fund, CurePSP, Hospice of Humboldt, or to a charity of your choice.

A celebration of life will be held for Sally at the Moonstone Beach House, on Sunday, May 28, 1 to 5 p.m.


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