Arnold Kirkewoog passed away on July 24 due to complications of lymphoma. Instead of the 48 hours predicted by doctors, he spent ten days gently drifting away, occasionally opening his eyes to see who was at his bedside, then perhaps reliving his world travels, connecting his electric car to his new photovoltaic system, planting a new crop of tomatoes, planning his next invention, painting local landscapes, and of course dancing up a storm. In these final days he never stopped living fully and deeply, too busy and too inspired to stop for anything.
A first generation only son of Norwegian parents, he struggled in school but as a youngster growing up in San Francisco, Arnold never ceased to educate himself: navigating tug boats, installing sound systems, designing turn signals and seatbelts before they were standard issue.
When he joined the Navy, tests revealed his gifts for science and technology and he was trained in electrical engineering, The experience led him to Livermore and a career at the UC Berkeley “Rad Lab” where he participated in the development of transistor solid state technology, experiments on satellites, fusion research and more.
After he retired and after the passing of his Dutch wife, Margo, of 64 years, Arne resettled into Baywood Park/Los Osos. He quickly became one of the colorful characters of this eccentric community: wearing his Hawaiian shirts and plantation hats, letting his treasured hair grow down to his shoulders, dancing with anyone and everyone. He could be seen BS-ing with the Baywood Navy, listening to music at the Dockside restaurant, buying beers for the local baker, and cruising the Back Bay with camera in hand. Every time he was on the bay he would smile and say “ life doesn’t get any better than this. “
It did get better. He met his best friend Eleanor who introduced him to vegetable gardening, meditation and her amazing group of friends. They explored and enjoyed the Central Coast together. Everyday was an adventure .
In his final decade he visited Norway and reconnected with the extended family of his mother Ellen. Upon his return to Baywood, he raised a Norwegian flag in his backyard and proudly put on a hand-knit Norwegian sweater over his Hawaiian shirt whenever the fog came in.
And right up to the end, he remained as intrepid, colorful and determined as ever. Just before being hospitalized Arnold had accompanied his Dutch nephew on a hike up Black Hill. And when he was barely able to speak, he motioned for us to come in close for some final words. This followed: “I think I swallowed a magnet.” No farewell, no mushy sentiment, just a nod to technology, and his belief that anything can be fixed and improved.
Arnold is survived by his daughter Ingrid who resides in Baywood and son Eric who lives in Portland.
In the memory and spirit of Arnold Kirkewoog please choose one or more of the following and do it with gusto:
• Dance to live music
• Tell a joke
• Plant a garden
• Take something apart and put it back together
• Pick up a sketch book