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Wilbur Hoyt Widener obituary – (1936-2024)

Wilbur Hoyt “Dek” Widener May 30, 1936 April 1, 2024 Wilbur Hoyt “Dek” Widener, a longtime resident of Fortuna, California, passed away on April 1, 2024 at his home in Fernbridge. He was 87. Dek was born May 30, 1936, in Washington, Pennsylvania, the youngest of nine children. Because his birth fell on Decoration Day (now known as Memorial Day), he was nicknamed Dek. He never used his first name, so many who knew him were unaware that his birth name was actually Wilbur, a fact that often resulted in jokes and laughter when his birth name was discovered. Dek’s family moved to Monrovia, California in the early 1940s and then moved to Humboldt County in 1949, eventually settling on Summer Street in Fortuna. He graduated from Fortuna Union High School, married Rita Draper on July 19, 1957 and they welcomed three children. During those early days, Dek was an active member of the 20-30 club, volunteered with the Fortuna Volunteer Fire Department and began working at Low’s Furniture during high school. He continued to work at Low’s until he and his brother, Bernard, purchased the Shell gas station next to Goble’s Market near Rohner Park. After they sold the station, Dek was hired by Leo Murray and began his career of more than 30 years at Wyckoff’s Plumbing in Fortuna. To quote an employee who once worked at Dek, he was their “number one septic tank driver and pump repairman,” spending countless days driving to remote areas to serve Wyckoff’s customers. When his daughter Soni came to visit, Dek would take her with him. She fondly remembers the special moments she spent with her father while driving through Humboldt and Trinity counties. On April 2, 1975, Dek married his second wife, Theresa Lloyd. They were married for more than 17 years before Terry passed away in 1992. During their time together, they purchased and renovated a cabin in Ruth, California, and enjoyed many years of boating on Ruth Lake, as well as hunting, fishing and mountain exploring. roads in his beloved 1954 Willys Jeep. In 1995, Dek found love again and married Carol ‘Kelly’ Murphy on May 24, 1997 at their home in Fernbridge. They spent the next few years enjoying trips to the cabin until a wildfire destroyed it in 2011. When Dek met Kelly, he also met her cat, and that resulted in a desire to help and care for (i.e. adopt) many neighborhood stray cats. Those cats brought him countless hours of joy and affection, especially in recent years when he struggled with serious vision problems. Dek was predeceased by his parents, Harry and Elda Widener; eight siblings; his eldest daughter, Kelli Tucker; and his second wife, Theresa. He is survived by his wife Kelly of Fernbridge; daughter Soni (Ron) Bigler and son Kevin Widener of Carson City, Nev.; stepdaughter Laurel (Ricky) Ruud van Fortuna; three grandsons; four great-grandchildren; and numerous nieces and nephews, all of whom loved their Uncle Dek. He was also predeceased by his stepson Doug Murphy, Jr., and step-grandson Quincy Mendes. Dek was known for his dry sense of humor, his ability to tell a great story and his love of a really good whisky. Dek asked whether there would be a memorial service. However, please feel free to pour a favorite whiskey with a splash of water over ice in a highball glass and raise a toast to Dek, and perhaps share a few stories in his memory.