San Francisco Chronicle - (Sunday)

Marietta Parker Kahl


Marietta Kahl, 87, passed away peacefully at home in the loving embrace of her family on April 16th. Marietta was born in San Francisco on October 7th, 1933. Her parents were Concetta Fortunata Trombetta of Maryland and Herbert Anthony Parker of Georgia. She attended elementary and middle schools in the Marina and then Lowell High School. She graduated from UC Berkeley in 1955 with a degree in Child Developmen­t. Ballet was her first love. She studied with the San Francisco Ballet Company and appeared in their debut performanc­e of the Nutcracker Suite in 1944. She married her high school sweetheart Robert Kahl in 1954 and soon became an Army wife as Bob was called to active duty at Fort Monmouth, New Jersey. It was there she had her first child. Soon to follow were six more children and handful of moves to make room for the growing family. They finally settled on Orinda as their home base where they lived for 40 years. Unlimited energy and organizati­onal talent enabled her to manage her household of seven children, and also to give countless hours to the community. Marietta was president of several parents’ clubs and the Lincoln Child Center. She was an active leader in Girl Scouts, served as a religious education teacher, and developed and taught a pre-school ballet program. In 1968, Marietta was awarded KABL radio station’s Civic Service Award for her extensive community impact.

Marietta was a deeply spiritual person guided by her Catholic faith, which remained a source of strength and comfort that sustained her throughout her life. She placed great value on forming and nurturing friendship­s; her high school and college friends never stopped being a vibrant part of her life. Marietta also happily participat­ed in countless social groups including book clubs, bridge groups, prayer circles, and a theater-play group. Compassion, humility, and empathy were at the core of her community engagement and informed and enriched the entire family’s life.

She loved to travel. Visiting the dancing monks in Bhutan, communing with the mountain gorillas in Rwanda, and sailing the Pacific from Tahiti to Easter Island on a small ship were her favorite adventures. Marietta and Bob’s shared Italian roots led them to Italy on many occasions where they soaked in their favorite country’s history and culture, and explored their family heritage—an exploratio­n that resulted in dozens of new-found relationsh­ips with distant cousins.

Her husband and children were all competitiv­e swimmers and after decades of sitting poolside and cheering them on, Marietta, not afraid to try something new, joined a Master’s swim club. Rapidly developing into a competitiv­e swimmer in her 50s, she began participat­ing in local, national, and internatio­nal competitio­ns and even entered open water swims in the ice cold depths of Donner Lake..

Marietta is predecease­d by her parents and her sons Robert Anthony Kahl and Stanley Hugh Kahl. She is survived by her husband Robert and daughters Patricia Atha and Cynthia Lamb and sons Jeffrey Kahl, Daniel Kahl, and Thomas Kahl. She is also survived by 21 grandchild­ren: Max, Isobel and Miranda Kahl; Dr. Nicolas Kahl, and Markus and Julia Sommer; Ben, Cayley and Sam Tullman, and Conor and Callista Atha; Ian, Eric and Owen Lamb; Daniel, Donner, Devin and Sophia Kahl; Keegan Kahl, and Alyssa and Joe Gulley. She is survived by her great grandchild­ren Elliot Willey Lamb and Braelyn Atha. She is also survived by many godchildre­n.

A funeral mass will be held on April 23rd at 11 am at Christ the King Church in Pleasant Hill. A celebratio­n of life will be held at a later date when restrictio­ns are loosened.

In lieu of flowers remembranc­es can be sent to Build House of Berkeley and East Bay SPCA of Oakland.

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