Rudy Rivera Materne of Oak Harbor, Wash., died from COVID-19 complications on Feb. 10, 2021.
The third of four siblings, Rudy was born July 14, 1950 in Tamuning, Guam to José (Joe) and Catalina (Nina) Materne. Following their father’s Navy career, the family moved to California in 1955, then to Oak Harbor in 1963.
Rudy graduated from Oak Harbor High School in 1968 and worked as a plumber, maintenance manager and handyman for many years. Despite suffering a severe neck injury in his 20s, Rudy continued to work as a manual laborer well into his 60s, and he was proud to say that he held his own alongside much younger coworkers in the oil fields of North Dakota during the 2010s. Rudy eventually turned his love of poker into a job and concluded his career by dealing poker in Las Vegas for the World Series.
In addition to poker, Rudy’s hobbies included spoiling his daughters, bow hunting, crabbing, and, most significantly, fishing. He was known across Whidbey Island for his skill in baiting a hook and finding just the right spot for his casts, as well as his generosity in sharing his catch. Rudy was also generous with his time and could often be found lending a helping hand to others, whether that meant hanging bulletin boards in his daughter Melanya’s classroom or flying down to California to help his niece re-plumb a fixer-upper.
Rudy is survived by his siblings, Joe Materne and Janice Creamer, as well as his three daughters, Katrina Reyes, Kari Brooks and Melanya Materne. He is remembered fondly for the toughness he showed in fighting cancer, diabetes, and heart disease; for the generosity he showed his family, friends, and neighbors; and for the loving support he provided to Katrina, Kari, and Melanya.
Rudy was loved by many and will be missed dearly. If desired, friends and family may send condolences to the Materne family at 1386 E. Whidbey Ave., Oak Harbor, WA 98277. Donations can also be made in Rudy’s honor to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund at covid19responsefund.org. This fund supports the World Health Organization’s work in suppressing transmission, reducing exposure, countering misinformation, protecting the vulnerable, reducing mortality and promoting equitable access to new COVID-19 tools.