American Patriotic 10

Peter Russell Kaldhusdal

July 11, 1933 ~ May 17, 2021 (age 87)


On Tuesday, May 17, 2021, Peter R. Kaldhusdal, a loving husband and caring father, passed away at the age of 87. He died as his wife, Joan, held his hand and a hospice chaplain read from John 14:1-4. 

Peter was born on July 11, 1933, in Long Beach, California to Per and Lucille Kaldhusdal. In the midst of the Great Depression, his father traveled to the construction site of the future Griffith Park Observatory in Los Angeles. Per, a Norweigian immigrant, begged the foremen for a job. “Why should I hire you? I’ve had a thousand guys like you looking for work today.”

“Because my first child was born today. A son.” The foreman responded, “You got a toolbelt? Bring it tomorrow. It will be your first day.” That son was Peter.

He married Joan on Friday, 13, 1953, which the local newspaper reported was a blatant act of tempting the fate of bad luck. Catastrophe, however, was not their destiny. This year, the couple celebrated their 68th wedding anniversary. 

Shortly after his marriage, Pete was drafted into the US Army 2nd Infantry Division to fight in the Korean War, which angered him when it was called the Korean Conflict. He was placed as a lookout on the front lines. Years later he told his children his job was to radio headquarters to let them know the communists were on their way and to please let his bride know that he loved her. 

After the war ended in a stalemate, Pete returned to the States and to Joan. He started to build a construction business and a family. Together, they raised five children: Peter, Terry, Kim, Jack, and Jill. 

Pete had a passion for wheels. He attended every race known to man in Southern California and beyond: Indy, NASCAR, F1, sports, midgets, rallying, off-road, touring, IROC, boat, and even air races. He attended the California 500, Indy 500, ASCOT Park, Winternationals, Riverside Speedway, Twin 200s, Saugus Speedway, and the Long Beach Grand Prix to name a few. 

The buildings he created with his own construction company, P.R. Kaldhusdal Construction, stretch across the Los Angeles basin. He built courthouses, schoolhouses, factories, grocery stores, banks, gas stations, community centers, rides and villages at Six Flags Magic Mountain, sound stages at Universal and Paramount Studios, and the Koala House and California condor recovery unit at the Los Angeles Zoo. 

Pete was preceded in death by his son, Peter John. He is survived by his wife, Joan, and four children: (Kathy), Terry (Janet), Kim (Jon), Jack, Jill (Mike),  and grandchildren:  Emily (Jeff), Kyle, Zach, Ali, Tazmin, Hal, Kahlil and nephew Curt Kaldhusdal, who was especially close to Pete.  

The family will forever be grateful for the loving care he received from Jaxpointe Memory Care in Wheat Ridge, Colorado, especially Tonya, Victoria, Tammie, Linsey, Josette, Michelle, Russ, Gayle, and all of the staff who made Pete feel a part of their family. The last week of his life the team at Elevation Hospice of Colorado helped Pete close the last chapter with grace and dignity. Special thanks to Keri, Suzanne, and Tyler to name just a few. 

A small service will be held with the family in Thorton, Colorado. A memorial service will be held at St. Clare of Assisi Catholic Church this summer in the Santa Clarita Valley. In lieu of flowers, the family asks donations be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research or the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network.

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