A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, May 25, at the Elks Lodge, 109 S. School St., Grass Valley, for Emil Kurt “Whitey” Kalemba. Mr. Kalemba passed away on May 19 in Sebastopol of cardiac arrest while visiting family and friends. He was 77.
Mr. Kalemba was born June 10, 1929, to Emil and Freda, immigrants from Bad Frankenhausen, Germany, in the Bronx, N.Y. He attended Orange High School in Orange, N.J., before joining the Air Force at age 17. He served during the Korean War and was stationed at Elmendorf Air Force Base near Anchorage, Alaska. He later transferred to Hamilton Air Force Base in Marin County where he met his wife, June.
Mr. Kalemba and his wife eventually settled in Woodacre, where they raised their three children. He found a career at the Marin County Assessor’s Office, where he worked for 33 years before retiring in 1987.
After his wife passed away, Mr. Kalemba moved to Grass Valley and became an active volunteer with the local office of the California Highway Patrol. Although a volunteer, Mr. Kalemba treated the CHP as a second career and made many friends and found great purpose. It was clear from talking with him that the CHP was his local family.
Mr. Kalemba’s true passion was his paradise – called Webber Lake outside Truckee. Discovering Webber Lake in 1965, he and his wife ultimately made this their destination of choice and they both made many longtime friends and spent many a summer night under the stars.
Between his “job” with the CHP and being on staff at Webber Lake, Mr. Kalemba had no time to be a couch potato. He was an accomplished hunter, fisherman, woodworker and handyman. He could fix anything and often did. He had the ability to relate to people and was very social and outgoing. His sense of humor kept his friends laughing, and he had a work ethic that wouldn’t quit. Mr. Kalemba was stronger than most men half his age and would help you with anything you needed.
He is survived by his daughter, Debbie; sons and daughters-in-law Greg and Wendy and David and Kelly; seven grandchildren; and five great-grandchildren. Mr. Kalemba was preceded in death by June, his wife of 38 years, in 1993.
His family will miss his quick wit, his decency and his friendship.
Memorial contributions can be made in Mr. Kalemba’s name to the American Heart Association.
Support Local Journalism
Support Local Journalism
Readers around Grass Valley and Nevada County make The Union’s work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.
Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.
Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.
Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.
User Legend: Moderator Trusted User