Roland Potter: Injured in Vietnam

This section includes both obituaries and memories. Honoring our loved ones who have died does not end immediately after their passing. We recognize that… so we’re extending our obituary section to include individuals who may have left a long time ago. If you want to remember someone who is gone, either recently or longer ago, please send a photo and a few sentences to mskymkemp@gmail.com.

April 25,1946–February 14, 2015

Roland passed away suddenly on February 14th 2015.

He was a part of the southern Humboldt community for over 40 years.He served in Vietnam at 17 and was badly injured at 19 in the war.

He was an accomplished builder, accountant, fly fisherman, Benchrest National champion, and a great friend and advisor to many people.

He was accomplished at playing guitar, and had hobbies too numerous to mention.

He loved people. He loved helping people. He had friends all over the country.

He loved his sons, grandson, and adored his wife, Roseann who has never recovered from losing him.

Almost 4 years, he will never ever be forgotten. There are many who still mourn him.

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17 comments

  • Good section. Thank you Kym.

    • I second that!
      Thanks Kym.
      Perhaps you can keep it going with a tribute page, to honor people that have made a positive contribution to our county. So many people pass on that go unrecognized for some pretty special things.
      Another reason to talk to older people about their history while they are still breathing. The WW II Generation is almost gone, but we still have the Korean War and Viet Nam vets to learn from, and newer generations.

  • Aww, can hardly type through the tears. Roland was a special person, as is his wife, Rosie in my life. I’m glad to see this recognition.
    His wit, advice, and our early morning conversations are missed. Not to mention those tax returns he was a wiz at producing.

  • Thank you for your service sir. Good Journey to you.

  • I will never forget the first time we met Roland to do our taxes. We walked in to his office in Garberville and he had a .45 stuck in his belt. Right then, we knew he was the one for us. We still talk about him and miss him terribly. Every time we drive by on 101 we think of him. There was only one Roland. May his family find happiness and peace in the coming year.

  • Definitely one of a kind!! i do miss his candor/advice.

  • I miss you, Rolly.

  • Roland was a genuine character. . Was always surprised by another facet of his being. We were both Nam vets but the intensity of his experience shaped his world view and fueled his sense of appreciation that he had a life left to live. Had some good times on the golf course with him.

  • Roland owned about a dozen of my guitars, loved picking and playing “porch style” blues. His death was sudden and left us in a tax lurch, we will always miss him dearly.

  • Very honest and straight foward person. A little bit of pessimism and dark humor never hurt anyone and is always appreciated by me. My account for years. RIP and salute. I will never forget what he told me once. “ you know what the best thing for us would be to do? I wish I had a button that would eliminate half the people on this planet with me possibly being one of the statistics!” I agree Roland. I agree.

  • I finally met Roland, by phone, a few years ago. His friend introduced us and I asked him my question: “I might want to sell my out-of-country house but I’m worried that my taxes will change and I might attract an audit.”
    “No problem, we’ll handle it,” he said.
    “But the people who want to buy it are Swiss. I’d be getting a check from a Swiss bank.”
    “Ohhhh. Better just hang on to it then,” he said.

  • Roland was an incredible talented individual. He had a unique personality, sense of humor, and when he chose to do something, he studied, practiced and pursued his endeavor till he reached near perfection. He was a master of his game in the shooting sports, always polite, witty, and willing to share the secrets of his success. He never shared his service and trauma inflicted in Vietnam with me, had I known, I would have asked. It is important to learn from such experiences so we can better understand how it shapes our lives, and finds a place in history, which hopefully can lead to making a better place in the world. I was shocked and saddened by word of his passing. Deepest belated condolences to Roland’s family and friends. RIP Roland, you were one of the good ones!

    • Thankyou
      Yes he was a door gunner at 17
      He received ten air medals for helping to rescue the servicemen in the field
      When his helicopter crashed he was burned by jet fuel and almost lost his leg
      He was in a Philippine hospital for over 9 months as they tried to save it.
      He sought to be a survivor and a warrior, never a victim.
      He was subject to many horrors in the war
      He sought counseling and made himself a better man.
      He was an incredible husband and a beautiful friend to many,
      I will grieve him the rest of my life.
      I only wish we had gone together but I truly know he loved me.
      I am blessed
      Thankyou for your kind words 💔❤️

  • In my opinion Roland was one of the most influential people in making Humboldt what it became. He came here in the 70s after being a senior auditor at a huge L.A. accounting firm who decided it was time to “tune in and drop out.” He was first hired by Bob McKee at Whitethorn Construction. McKee was buying land and selling parcels to the first hippies to buy land here. Later, when Roland set up his office in Garberville, he helped clients understand that paying taxes creates legal business. This helped Humboldt boom. An interesting bit of info; his mother was a famous New York model and the face of the original Pond’s girl (he looked like his dad). His father used to take Roland along in his airplane and would start their trip having Roland show him one card after another from a shuffled deck, then when the day was done, on the return flight, he’d have Roland pull out the deck and his father would recall each card he’d been shown perfectly. That’s how Roland learned to think. He was brilliant, funny, unique in character. Although often caustic, it was backed with a great sense of humor and a good heart. He is missed!

  • A man of character and a real character of a man. We loved him then and still love him now. Rest in peace Rolly.

  • Roland Potter salt of the earth
    I am so glad to see his picture here as I am so sad that he had to leave us
    Driving by his barn on the way to Eureka reminds me of him and the depth of his caring for our fellow humans.
    He had the intelligence to know taxes mostly go for the war machine and therefore those who invest in it.
    He was a patriot a member of the people who dream of a democracy here at home a lite-house for the world
    Besides a door gunner his job was to land the attack helo at the base and sprint over to the red cross helo and beat it back to the drop zone and pick up the bodies of the wounded GIs and beat it back to the base so that their injuries might be attended to and they might still live. Imagine that.
    Yes his dark humor was a joy to be around.
    One day he considered the size of my skull left the room and came back with a hat of his and handed it to me and asked put it on my head. He knew it would fit and smiled at me to keep it.
    There is so much more to this guy that can be typed.
    I am so sorry that Rose has to put up with the fact of his death as do we all.

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