Gordon Surber, Sr. passed on peacefully from this world on November 9, 2019, surrounded by his wife, children and oldest granddaughter, Bella, at his home in Hoopa. He was a proud member of the Yurok Tribe. Gordon was born in Eureka, the youngest of four boys, to Gladys Ames Surber and Frank Surber. His first boat ride was when he was four days old and traveled up the Klamath River to his home in Pecwan, where he resided much of his life. He often said that growing up “down river” in Pecwan was the best life a kid could have: fishing, hunting and riding motorcycles.
At the young age of six, Gordon lost his mother and his father moved out of the area soon after. At that time his grandmother, Dorothy VanPelt Green, raised him and his brothers. The family lived in Hoopa during the school months and Pecwan during the summers and on weekends. He grew up gathering basket materials for his grandmother and other older women down the river. Gordon attended Jack Norton Elementary, Hoopa Elementary, Hoopa High School and Captain John, where he graduated in 1980. During his freshman year, Gordon met Judith “Judy” Hailey, who he later married in 1982. Even as a freshman he firmly stated that someday they would be married. On November 27, they would have shared their 37th wedding anniversary.
They had three sons, Gordon “Sport,” Roger and Cory, and then had their only daughter Megan to complete their family. The family moved to Redding, California in 1984 and Gordon attended Shasta College for two years and studied in the AA mechanics program. They also lived in Davis, while his wife attended school. Although he had gone to school in the mechanic program, Gordon went to work logging for Borelli Logging. As a third-generation logger, Gordon always loved working in the woods and said it was in his blood. After moving back to Hoopa in 1991, Gordon worked for Schirmann Logging, Boak Logging and Hoopa Forest Industries. He worked hard and never missed a day. He would say, “it’s not work if you love what you do” and he loved logging.
After a back injury in the late 1990s, Gordon could no longer log, which was a big part of his life. His other loves were fishing and motocross. Gordon and his brother Clarence have the record for catching the biggest sturgeon in the Klamath River and he spent every spare moment on the Klamath River, fishing in his jet boat. He was an avid hunter, gatherer, eeler and fisherman who taught his sons and daughter everything he knew and was happiest camping and being in the outdoors with his family.
The other thing he loved in life was motocross. Growing up he always had dirt bikes and would race in the small races that were held in Pecwan. He started his sons riding and every weekend the family raced at Phillipsville, Redwood Acres, Speed Raceway in Chico, Marysville, Clarks Branch and once a year in Washougal. That was the best week of the year when they would camp at the track, race in the amateur races and then watch the Nationals at the end of the week. He built a track in Hoopa and held two races there under the name Steelhead Raceway.
He was an uncomplicated man, who loved his family, loved to work, loved to fish, hunt and loved motocross. He was kind and would do anything for anyone in need. The greatest joy in his life was his grandchildren and he loved all of them with his whole heart. He will be sadly missed.
Gordon is preceded in death by his parents Gladys Ames Surber and Frank Surber; grandparents, Dorothy Van Pelt Green, Jackson Ames and Leona and Clarence Surber; his brother Clarence Surber; his brother-in-law David Hailey; aunts Floreinna Smoker, Matilda Obie, Vera Weatherford; uncles, Virgil Green, Sr., Teddy Green, Howard Ames, Frank Ames, Leonard Ames and Earl Smoker; niece Brianna Hailey and great-nephew Mark Andrew Hailey II.
He is survived by his wife Judy Surber; sons Gordon “Sport Surber, Jr. (Raven), Roger Surber (Ethel), and Cory Surber; daughter Megan Surber (Stoney McCoy); grandchildren Hilton, Bella, Chloe, Holden, Kennick, Keget, Roger Jr., Kinsinta, Benjiman, Rhea, Lil Stoney, Malaki and David McCoy. It wasn’t necessary for Gordon to have a biological tie to be a dad or grandparent and he considered James McCovey and Arlen Williams his other sons and Marlene Jones as his granddaughter as well as many others. He is survived by his brothers Gerald “Gunny” Stevens (Beverly) and Frank Surber; brother in laws Weldon Hailey (Lori) and Mark Hailey (Dana); his aunts Donna Richardson and Verona “Perky” Miller; his nephews Joe “Buck” Surber, Jackson Surber, Adam Stevens, Frank Bish Surber, Sinjen Surber, Paul Hailey (Yari), Jordan Hailey and Joseph Hailey, (Mercedes); and nieces Julia Hostler, Stacey Stevens, Shelby Surber, Kiersten McAvoy, Carrie Mello (Tim Sanderson), Jenifer Hailey Jones (Johnny), Shelly Bommelyn (Allen), Jenna Hailey and Anna Kay Hailey.
Viewing will be held at Paul’s Chapel in Arcata on Friday, November 15, 2019, from 5 to 8 p.m. Funeral Services will be held on Saturday, November 16, 2019, at 11 a.m. with interment to follow at the Hoopa cemetery. Food reception will follow at the Hoopa Fire Hall.
Pall Bearers: Gordon “Sport” Surber, Roger Surber, Cory Surber, Stoney McCoy, Jordan Hailey and Joe Surber.
Honorary Pall Bearers: Jackson Surber, Frank “Bish” Surber, Sinjen Surber, Adam Stevens, Paul Hailey, Joseph Hailey, Weldon Hailey, Mark Hailey, Mike McBride, Bud Hardy, Daniel Lopez, Lloyd Owen, Virgil Green, Gunny Stevens, Frank Surber, Ronnie Green, Tony Obie, Frank Ames, Dickey Myers, Oscar Billings, James McCovey, Bronson Lewis, Ronnie Reed, Tim Hunt, Glen Roberts, Johnny Jones, Glen Jones.
Please accept our apologies if we have omitted anyone.
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