Earl Robert Bootier passed away suddenly but peacefully at Ida Emmerson Hospice House in Eureka on Dec. 3, 2022, from complications of leukemia (CMML), caused by Agent Orange exposure in Vietnam (Earl would want everyone to know that!). He spent some of the last hours of his life on the phone with loved ones who could not be there. His wife, Cheryl was by his side until the end. In true beekeeper tradition, his bees were told of his passing two days later. Earl’s life was cut short at the young age of 77.
He is survived by his wife, Cheryl Furman, son Daniel Bootier, granddaughters Aurora, Aurelia, and Aureline Bootier as well as sisters Evelyn Prytula, Lois Picard, and Dede McMahon, and his college friends, Gary and Dena Manka (he would proudly let you know he had introduced them), and their two daughters – his god-daughters, Celeste and Muriel, along with many beloved nieces and nephews.
Earl was born on Sept. 8, 1945, in Providence, Rhode Island, the sixth of seven children of Eva (Laramee) Bootier and Louis Bootier. He graduated from high school in West Warwick, Rhode Island. After serving in Phan Rang, Vietnam, he graduated from Humboldt State College with a degree in political science and a minor in social studies.
Earl was liberal in his philosophy and ran political campaigns for prominent politicians, both in the senate and the house, who are still in office to this day; people he believed would make a difference. He would never let us forget and was super proud that he had given up his delegate seat to make room for Nancy Pelosi!
Earl led a very full, rich, ethical life, unafraid to call it like he saw it, giving his all to hold corporations and wrongdoers accountable and to work for causes that he believed in. He had an unwavering sense of right and wrong and didn’t hesitate to defend anyone from a bully. He became very distressed about the state of the world.
Earl became the lead building inspector for Humboldt County and later founded Laramee Construction, known regionally in Humboldt County for building the most amazing custom homes with the utmost quality of work. This insistence on quality work would follow him throughout his life!
After Earl’s first wife Jane died at a very young age from pancreatic cancer, Earl went through a period of mourning. He eventually met and married Cheryl Furman. They were two peas in a pod up on Kneeland Mountain; both sharing similar political views, activism and outlooks on life. They were together for ten memorable years, raising their bees, dogs, cats, chickens, a vegetable and flower garden as well as Earl’s beloved fruit orchard. Every year, he would make apple and pear cider with various neighbors and share that cider with many friends.
He read the North Coast Journal religiously from cover to cover and it seemed only right and appropriate that his obituary be seen here. He would grab three copies – one for the living room, bedroom, and bathroom!
He loved his Kneeland community, plowed many driveways and maintained his own mile-long driveway as well as a portion of the county road. He was as generous and big-hearted as they come. Earl prided himself on being prepared for any emergency up on Kneeland Mountain and pulled many people out of the mud or snow embankments. He would have dearly loved to see the break in this drought and the creeks raging!!
Earl was an exceptional steward of his 40 acres, and in accordance with his adamant wishes, his property will be returned to the Wiyot tribe. He was always well aware that they called this place their home long before he called it his home.
Unfortunately, they broke the mold when they made Earl, there are very few men like him anymore. The loss of Earl is a loss for so many!
A celebration of life will be held in the spring, in true Earl style. He loved to barbeque, hold big pot lucks, and tell many stories! The BBQ will be manned by his nephew Joey Bootier. Earl loved good food!
In gratitude, donations may be made to Hospice of Humboldt in his name. They made his passing much easier.