LONG BEACH — Arthur Donald Stotts, 66, known to all as “Art,” passed away April 18, 2017, in the comfort of his home after an extremely long battle with cancer.
Art was born Sept. 24, 1950, in Portland, Oregon to Charles and Veronica (Carp) Stotts. He grew up in Portland as a child until his family moved to Scappoose, Oregon. No matter where they lived, Art worked hard mowing lawns and hanging Christmas lights and always made friends everywhere he went. When he got old enough, he worked and managed his parents business, Nylon Wholesale, selling items to Payless Stores in different states. In his “off” time, he served in the Army National Guard for 10 years.
In 1981, Art was living on his boat in Scappoose but had a little trailer in Seaview, which he frequented often to clam dig and visit friends. He met and dated Katrina, who was working at the Sore Thumb Tavern, until they went their separate ways — he back to his boat docked in Scappoose and her back to California. Katrina shortly thereafter found out she was pregnant with Art’s child but had lost all contact with him.
In Spring 1983, Art walked into Uncle Bob’s in Long Beach for a six-pack of Miller Lite and walked out as the proud new owner of Uncle Bob’s; he later changed the name to Art’s Seafood Market & Deli. In 1985, almost like a fairytale, as fate would have it, Art’s life changed drastically when an (unknown) mutual friend, Ron Thomas, told Katrina, who was looking for work, that his boss was looking for part-time help. Low and behold, she walked in looking for a job and instead, was reunited with her old flame and future husband. And, he met his daughter who was three years old, for the first time. On June 15, 1987, they said their vows and made it official that they wanted to love each other for the rest of their lives.
Art and Katrina ran Art’s Market until 1995, when they made a large decision to tear down the old, dilapidated building and build Pioneer Market & Deli/Chevron station. Art enjoyed working at the store daily until his cancer no longer permitted it.
In August 2007 Art found his calling and became a grandpa to Aarin Michael. There he was in the hospital, just seeing him for the first time. When he was asked if he wanted to hold him he replied “no” but it was too late as Aarin was being placed in his arms. After that moment it was a fight to get him to let go. Aarin was the light of his life up until his last breath.
In October 2012, after a year or more of pain, Art was diagnosed with throat cancer. He did months of chemo and radiation, which made the cancer “disappear” only to find out a few months later that it was back and very aggressive. It was too large, again, to remove the tumor. More rounds of chemo (up to four at one time) and another round of radiation found Art desperately wanting to live yet the odds were against him. He had a couple of drastic surgeries to cut the cancer out completely only to find, again, that it was still there. More chemo and a clinical trial found Art and Katrina practically living at the hospitals. One more round of radiation and even more chemo couldn’t touch the aggressive monster attacking his body. In October 2016, the doctors gave up and said there was nothing else to try. It was over and it would be a miracle if he made it to Thanksgiving. Being the person that he was, he thanked the doctor with a handshake and a smile. However, he was able to power through with his incredible strength and will to live, that he was able to push his body another six months past Thanksgiving.
Art is survived by his wife, Katrina (Dougherty) Stotts; his daughter, Kaarina Stotts (Tim Johnson); his stepson, Brandon Prest; his grandson, Aarin Hoygaard; granddaughter Blakeley Prest Bucklin; his mother, Veronica (Carp) Stotts; brothers, Richard Stotts and George (Peggy) Stotts; many loved nieces and nephews along with an infinite amount of friends and “adopted” family. His father, Charles Stotts, preceded him in death.
Art was truly one of a kind … loved by any and all who met him. The moment you met him, you felt welcomed and as if you had known him forever. He had a heart of gold and would be the first to help someone without expecting anything in return. Driving hot rods, watching NASCAR and doing puzzles were favorite past-times. He loved to travel; his favorite places being Reno, Arizona and Disney World. He loved life more than most. His friends and family meant everything to him and there wasn’t a day that went by that he didn’t let them know. He will forever be remembered as a hero.
In honor of this unforgettable man, there will be a Celebration of Life on June 3 at the Chinook Gym at noon. Hot dogs and hamburgers will be provided; any side dishes are welcomed in lieu of flowers and gifts. The family would love to do a cruise through Long Beach after the gathering. If you happen to have a hot rod, bring it! It would be great to cruise through town in the honor of Art. At Art’s request, this will be a light affair … dress casually, bring your poker faces and get ready to tell some great stories.
His guestbook is available at www.penttilaschapel.com.