William (Bill) Laidlaw
August 24, 1935 — June 2, 2024
Son, Brother, Husband, Dad, Grandpa, Uncle.

Bill was born in Fresno to James and Susan Laidlaw. Bill was one of seven children, three brothers and three sisters. The family eventually moved north to Humboldt County. Bill attended Orick Elementary School and graduated from Arcata Elementary School. Bill enlisted in the US Army with one of his best friends, Ed Walker. Bill and Ed chose the Infantry, specifically the 11th Airbourne as a paratrooper, because it paid more.

He spent time in Fort Campbell, Kentucky and Munich, Germany jumping from perfectly good planes all over the globe. Bill was honorably discharged just short of becoming a master Jumper after four years, and returned to Humboldt County, marrying his sweetheart, Marlene. Together they grew a family of two children, all the neighborhood kids and multiple dogs and cats.

Bill had a short stint with the California Department of Forestry, worked in sawmills and eventually found his calling, truck driving. In his career, Bill hauled lumber, produce and food service products. Bill took great pride in his profession, was a very hard worker, and in my opinion, had the best work ethic of anyone. Upon his “retirement” (which he never really did) they traveled with their fifth wheel travel trailer around the US, occasionally with their grandchildren, including Alaska twice. Together, Bill and Marlene were Camp Hosts in Yosemite (Hodgson Meadows) for a number of years, shared their love of salmon fishing and picked an occasional abalone with family. They volunteered for the Cancer Society, created handmade toys for needy children at Christmas and ran the clock for Eureka High football at Albee Stadium. They attended and supported their children and grandchildren’s sports endeavors faithfully.

Bill “used it all up” and lived life to its fullest. The shoes he left behind can never be filled. Bill and Marlene were married for over fifty years until Marlene passed. They are together again, now forever.

Bill is survived by his sister, Florine; children, Kim (Kenny) and Ed (Theresa); grandchildren Jenn (Ryan) and Tori (Riley); aunt, Roberta; brother in-law Bob; sisters-in law, Roxanne and Sue; nephew Robby; and nieces Crystal, Tina and Cara.

Preceded by parents, Jim and Sue; wife, Marlene; brothers, James (Bud), Robert (Bob) and Albert (Shorty); sisters, Mary Jane and Suzanne; grandson Will; niece Lori Ann; and favorite brother in-law, Don.

Dad chose not to have any services. His hope is for everyone to wish him good luck fishing when you are at the ocean or give the universal “Honk your airhorn” sign to a truck driver in his memory.


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