Leonard Severn Petersen
Jan. 6, 1936-July 10, 2018
Leonard Severn Petersen passed away at his home in Atherton, Calif., from cancer on July 10, 2018. Leonard was born Jan. 6, 1936, at Santa Barbara Cottage Hospital to Leonard Sr. and Estelle Petersen. He attended Santa Maria High School, where he ran track and served as a Junior Statesman of America. It was then that he met his future business partner, Phil Olson, for the very first time. Leonard's cousin, Marcia, recalled that in high school he was popular, energized by people, fun to be around and usually the life of the party. Leonard was mechanical by nature and worked on hot rods, aided by his father's auto parts store. He spent many of his Saturday's drag racing.
In 1956, Leonard married his high school sweetheart, Patricia Pabst, and they had four children. He graduated from Stanford University in 1957 with a bachelor's degree in Engineering and worked at Ampex for nine years before opening his business, Petersen Precision Engineering in Redwood City, Calif. Leonard never fully retired and has continued to be a problem-solver for the past 52 years. He created practical solutions to problems and lived very much in the present.
In 1987, Leonard remarried to Cathie Merchant. Their families bonded over many wonderful pets including two Rottweilers, Avy and King, and their Maltipoos, Chauncey and Benny.
Leonard and Cathie enjoyed traveling together, taking cruises to Tahiti, Alaska, Hawaii, the Panama Canal, and the Mediterranean and Baltic seas. For the past 11 years, they split time between Atherton and Rancho Mirage, Calif., where they enjoyed their time at both Thunderbird and Sunrise country clubs. Leonard's extroverted personality was well known as he participated in daily poker and gin games at Thunderbird's men's locker room. He would want to thank all of them for their services and friendships.
Leonard was an enthusiastic cook, a passionate sports fan and enjoyed people from all walks of life. He loved having a good time and wanted everyone around him to have a good time.
Leonard didn't like to toss anything out before taking on the challenge to fix it and was curious by nature. He restored cars and motorcycles, most notably his 1928 Packard, a 1911 Cadillac Horseless Carriage and a 1914 Harley Davidson.
Leonard is survived by his wife Cathie, daughter Elaine and husband Gary, son Neal and wife Aman, son Fred and wife Monika, son Doug, stepdaughter Shannon and grandchildren Keith, Daniel, Greg, Melissa, Abby and Rumi.