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August 7, 1965 ~ October 12, 2023 (age 58) 58 Years Old
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Darrell Cardiff was incredibly rich, in stories, comradery, family and friends, and in life. A person with a wealth of knowledge of history and culture. A person who could make a new friend feel comfortable in a room full of strangers. He had so many friends, all of them good, that listing him here would not be possible. You could feel that his whole life was filled with enjoying the presence of those around him. He made an effort to stay in touch with his work friends, college friends, high school friends, and even friends from first grade.
This does not mean that Darrell was never serious. Darrell was an archeologist for CalTrans. He felt a duty to make the world a better place – to be valued and to make others feel valued. To come up with creative solutions to difficult problems. A favorite story of him is that he helped start a CalTrans art program on the Hoopa reservation with children decorating the back of road signs. As a side benefit, such a program greatly reduced road sign casualty rates along country roads. Such a program inspired similar tribal-themed efforts along bridges and other CalTrans road construction projects in Humboldt County. He was also proud that he was in a position to protect tribal rights. He had no qualms about stopping construction disturbing tribal ceremonies, much to the unhappiness of CalTrans crews at times. One’s word was important to him. If he gave his word, he was going to do his utmost to honor it.
Of course, no story of Darrell could be told without fish. Darrell was a fisherman. He most loved fishing for steelhead and salmon, but would also fish for tuna, halibut, rockfish, or literally anything that would bite a hook. He loved to catch fish, smoke fish, eat fish, share fish, watch fish and talk fish. He loved to fish in Alaska with his friend Brian, Humboldt Bay with Jerome, or the many picturesque forested rivers and streams with Clyde and countless other friends. Darrell’s world revolved around his friends and fish, and if you happened to fish, then you were twice as likely to see Darrell on a regular basis.
Finally, Darrell cared deeply about family. His last adventure, just weeks ago, was taking his mother and father to Zion National Park and Bryce Canyon, Utah as a “bucket list” trip for them. He also made 10-12 hour drives or flights to visit relatives on Thanksgiving or Christmas or just because he had the time. Finally, he was so proud of his daughter and the incredibly poised, intelligent, and caring young woman she has become. Diana graduated in 2023 with honors from McKinleyville High and is starting her college life.
Darrell died unexpectedly in his sleep on October 12, 2023. He is survived by his parents, Robert and Sally Cardiff of Davis, his brother Todd Cardiff in San Diego, his sister Shelley Cardiff in Oakland, his daughter Diana, and a myriad of cousins, nieces, and nephews. Darrell is going to be greatly missed by so many people. We love you. May your spirit disperse throughout the earth, ocean, rivers, and all living things.