Kjell Kallman, age 58
Kjell Kallman, age 58
Kjell Kallman, born on June 21, 1959, passed unexpectedly on Sept. 28, 2017, after a short but courageous battle with cancer. Kjell was born in San Francisco but grew up in San Rafael. He was always proud to be a native Californian. He was preceded in death by his father Raymond Kallman. He is survived by his very best friend and wife of 32 years Robin, his loving mother Patricia, his son Sam, and his daughter Nora, as well as extended family and friends too numerous to mention.
Graduating from San Rafael High School in 1977, Kjell went on to the University of California, Berkeley, where he received a B.A. in accounting from the Haas School of Business. After graduating from U.C. Berkeley in 1984, he decided to follow his passion to race cars. He was a fierce competitor, but respected all who shared the track and love of the sport. This brought him to Sonoma Raceway where he spent most of his professional career, beginning as a racing instructor for Bob Bondurant. He also conducted defensive driving training classes for teens.
His talent and passion brought him to work with Carol Shelby as director of sales in Los Angeles. Missing family and Northern California, Kjell and Robin moved back to the Bay Area.
In 1990, Kjell joined his two brothers-in-law, Paul and Michael Papsdorf, to form PMK Construction, handling accounting as well as carpentry in the field. Returning to his passion for cars, Kjell joined Jim Russell Racing School at Sonoma Raceway, then named Sears Point Raceway in 1995, where as director of marketing and sales he doubled revenue in three years. He was promoted to general manager and enjoyed his time working at the track through 2006.
Kjell went on to become a director of marketing and communications at Redwood Regional Medical Group from 2006 to 2008. There he created and deployed a new global marketing and communications plan for the largest radiology, oncology, and surgery practice in California.
He joined Soiland Company in 2009 to evaluate and implement improvements throughout the business.
In the throes of the recession, Kjell’s family moved to Birmingham, Michigan, where Kjell rose to a new challenge as creative director and executive editor for Jackson Dawson Communications. After two years, the family happily returned to Sonoma County. Kjell returned to Soiland Company and continued to create new marketing strategies and expand their sales further than ever before. Kjell spent most of his career in the automotive industry, but secretly always wanted to be a farmer. Thus, his days working for Soiland helping farmers with soil, soil amendment and composting, were very close to his heart’s desire.
Community was very important to Kjell. While living in Kenwood, Kjell ran and organized the annual Fourth of July Parade, volunteered at Sonoma Speedway Charities, and served on the Kenwood School Board of Trustees.
Kjell was a constant light to his family and friends and brought a great sense of humor to any situation. His favorite pastimes while living in Sonoma County were spending time with his beloved family, riding his mountain bike through Annadel, and going on walks with his dog, Wendell. Kjell had a deep love for God and worked relentlessly to serve Him in whatever he did. He will be missed by many, but his memories continue within all the lives he has warmly touched.
A beautiful celebration of Kjell’s life was held on Oct. 7 at the Maple Ring in Kenwood.
In lieu of flowers, please donate to The Kjell Kallman Fund being created through Dean Stein at Edward Jones, 935-1085. Proceeds will go towards Nora’s college tuition and two charities that were close to Kjell’s heart, Speedway Children’s Charities and the Kenwood Education Foundation.