Skip came by his name virtually at birth. His dad was a career Navy man serving on a destroyer in the Pacific during World War II when Skip was born. The announcement of his birth was sent to his father and included a photo of a young boy wearing a navy uniform. Inside the announcement, it said, “We have a new little skipper around.” The name stuck and not many people outside of his family and close friends knew him by any other name.
Skip graduated from Fortuna Union High School in 1962 and after attending Humboldt State University until 1964, joined the United States Army serving as a radio teletype and communications specialist from 1964 to 1967. His service in the U.S. Army included a 15-month tour of duty in Vietnam during which he received a special Commendation Award from General Westmoreland. Upon returning from Vietnam, Skip was a member of the Sixth Army Honor Guard while stationed at Fort Ord in Monterey, California.
After receiving an honorable discharge from the Army, Skip resided in Monterey working for Belfast Bottling Company as a route salesperson until 1971. From 1971-1983, Skip worked for Economics Lab, Inc. in San Jose, California until he moved back to Humboldt County where, in his words, he “was supposed to be.” His professional life took several turns over the next 16 years working in sales and management for several companies including Gemini Foods, The Humboldt Group, Sequoia Gas Company, and Fortuna Motors, Inc. During this time, Skip became involved in a number of local activities, which gave him great pleasure and an opportunity to give back to a community he dearly loved.
Among his many official affiliations, Skip served as a commissioner of Fortuna Parks and Recreation, president of the Fortuna Chamber of Commerce, board member of Delta Sigma Phi Fraternity, umpire for the Fortuna Little League and Fortuna Babe Ruth League, board member and president of the Fortuna Rotary Club, and charter member of the Fortuna Sunrise Rotary Club.
Those who knew Skip were well aware of his interest and talents in sports (he made the All-County baseball team while at Fortuna Union High School). Because of his interest in sports Skip was particularly pleased to serve as a co-chairman and a committee member for the Humboldt State University Athletic Fundraising Committee for 11 years. His efforts along with other committee members were instrumental in bringing major sports stars such as Bill Walsh, Jim Otto, Roger Craig, Randy Cross, and Jim Plunkett to this area and raising large amounts of money to benefit Humboldt State University.
In 1999, Skip moved to Garberville where he was graciously adopted as a native son. He worked at Six Rivers Bank from 1999-2004 as the assistant vice president/branch manager in charge of customer service and lending. In 2005, he became publisher of the Redwood Times and worked there until his retirement.
Skip continued to be active in community service serving as a president and board member of the Garberville Rotary Club, a board member of the Garberville-Redway Chamber of Commerce, vice-president of the Garberville Rodeo Association, committee member of the Native Sons of the Golden West, and committee member of Ducks Unlimited. Skip was proud of his accomplishments and honored by his association with outstanding organizations that benefited the community in significant ways.
Skip’s hobbies and interests were few but important to him. He loved his family, he loved sports, he loved his community, and although not quite as essential as the first three interests, he will be remembered as one who enjoyed eating every imaginable kind of pickle and pepper possible. He will also be remembered for his good humor especially if it was related to raising funds for a valuable cause. Skip was also devoted to his family and because he was the oldest child was able to provide strength and wisdom to his brothers and sisters.
Skip was preceded in death by his mother, Ruby; father, Rodney; and step-father, Warren “Babe” Ruud. He is survived by daughter, Stefine Leigh Toste and grandchildren, Drew Michael Alexander Toste, Curtis River Hereford-Toste, and Kylee Miranda Joyce Wells; brothers, Dean Ruud, Gary Ruud, Ricky Ruud and his wife Laurel Ruud, and James Stone; sisters, Linda Bucher and her husband Louis Bucher, Loretta Ruud and her husband Angelo Rivera; and Roddie Gayle Stone; niece, Hilary Bucher; and nephew, Derek Ruud.
The family would like to thank the thoughtful and sensitive caregivers from the Hospice of Humboldt and the health care providers from the Fortuna Rehabilitation and Wellness Center. The family also wishes to thank his neighbor, Margaret Lewis, for extending her assistance to Skip in his very difficult time and to all of his friends and extended family who provided emotional and physical comfort to Skip in the last stages of his life.
There will be no official memorial service but there was a gathering in his memory on Saturday, January 12, 2013 at 2 p.m. at the Fortuna Fire Hall, 320 S. Fortuna Blvd., Fortuna.
Donations in his memory may be made to Hospice of Humboldt (2010 Myrtle Avenue, Eureka, CA 95501), the Garberville Rotary Club (P.O. Box 601, Garberville, CA 95542), or to a local charity or organization of one’s choice.
Arrangements are under the care of Goble’s Fortuna Mortuary.