Hugo Papstein

Hugo Papstein, 82, died on Tuesday, October 6th in his sleep at home. This “Good Guy” had an adventurous life full of accomplishments but will mostly be remembered for the many lives that were influenced during his time here on earth.
Hugo was born in Westport, Connecticut in 1938. While his mother was born in America, his Dad (“Pop”) was born in Germany. He embraced his German heritage and often told stories of the times he spent in his Uncle Hans’ bakery before and after school. This also included many of his favorite food items, including Stollën and German potato salad and Sauerbraten.
In high school, Hugo’s natural athleticism and size gave him abilities that were recognized locally and regionally. Being 6’ 6”, he was successful playing basketball at Staples High, but his true talent was baseball. As a pitcher the accomplishments in high school attracted the attention of professional ball clubs. In later years, he would share stories of being given tours of Shibe Stadium in Philadelphia by future Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts. But he chose to sign with the “local team”, the Boston Red Sox. As Hugo worked his way through the Red Sox system, he was part of a very strong team in Raleigh, North Carolina in 1958. The pitching staff on which he was the #1 pitcher had four other starters – all of which made it to “the Big Show”, including Galen Cisco, future pitching coach for the Toronto Blue Jays for many years. He also had the opportunity to be teammates with Hall of Famer Carl Yastrzemski as well.
During his senior year at Staples, Hugo met his future bride Barbara Adams, who moved to Westport from Long Island. When Barbara’s parents purchased KHUM Radio (the future KINS), Hugo began spending time in Eureka. His final year in professional ball was spent in Alpine, Texas when he took his new bride with him. It was Hugo’s last “baseball year” as he suffered a torn back muscle which took enough off of his fastball that he knew his future did not include Fenway Park.
Following his final year in the Red Sox chain, Hugo and Barb settled into life in Eureka, working at KINS. He enjoyed baseball and pitched for a year with the Crabs, but got frustrated because he knew batters that two years earlier would not be able to touch his pitches were fouling them off. So he hung up his cleats and opted to try umpiring for a couple of years. Then he went into coaching. Regarding what “might have been”, Hugo wasn’t one to dwell on this. In fact, a phrase often repeated dealt with the word “IF”: “If frogs had wings they wouldn’t bump their **** every time they jumped.” And that was his attitude. No need spend energy thinking about what wasn’t possible
Football (with the White Tornados Eureka youth football) along with baseball allowed him to keep his hand in athletics, along with serving on the Eureka Babe Ruth Board of Directors for years as well as coaching when his two oldest sons, Brian and Kurt played for him.

During this time, Hugo was selling advertising for KINS Radio. While helping local businesses become more successful with the advertising, he never had any desire to appear on air. A natural outgrowth of this desire to help also directed him to serve in many capacities, including President, for the Eureka Rotary Club, the Humboldt County Parks and Recreation Commission, the Eureka Chamber of Commerce Board and other positions as well.
Hugo really developed three lifelong passions: golf, fly fishing and the family cabin in Trinity Village. Golf was always a frustration as he would take his baseball background and “grip and rip”, consistently resulting in some magnificently arcing slices. Fly fishing, particularly with Laurie Lazio, Bill Williams, was another source of joy. Hugo had became friends with Lloyd Silvius, the creator of the Brindle Bug fly, which Hugo would tie and send to friends throughout the country right up to his final months.

There were two cabins in Trinity Village. The first was built in the late 60’s by the family with the help of friends, including Len and Wendy Anderson (his brother and sister in-law who were great friends and who he felt lucky to have in his life.) This was a real family project and many great memories were made there. The first cabin burned down in 1971. And out of the ashes of this came the second cabin and an opportunity to purchase the adjacent lot which allowed for more space to stretch out and an orchard and the swimming pool area which provided hours and hours of fun along and relaxation for decades. It also allowed for plenty of opportunity to spilt wood which was something he looked forward to as well.

Family was always something important to Barb and Hugo – and they guarded the time with the kids. Weekends were spent at the Cabin, or taking vacations. This became even more important after they purchased the radio station in 1973. The company eventually grew to a total of six stations (four in Eureka and two in Brookings, Oregon.)
After Barb died, Hugo reconnected on a more regular basis with long-time friends Bill Williams and Bob Britt; Laura Hamley; his sister Barb; along with Len and Wendy Anderson. There were hours spent being together in person or over the cellphone – a piece of technology Hugo never really mastered.
Hugo was preceded in death by his wife of 58 years, Barbara. He is survived by his friend, Jane, his sister Barbara (Bobbi), sons Brian (Angie), Kurt (Susan) and Russell; grandchildren Kurt and John, Winston and Stephen, Emma and Wyatt; and by great grandchildren Nevaeh, Sophie, Tavin and Rylan.
Because of the current restrictions caused by the Chinese virus, there will be no Memorial Services. If one wishes to make donations, you are encouraged to do so to the Wendell Adams Fund at Humboldt Area Foundation providing funds for Rotary Exchange students or a local youth organization in your community.