Richard Hanley Katerndahl

November 18, 1921March 26, 2014
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Richard Hanley ("Dick") Katerndahl 92, of Kentfield, California Passed away peacefully in his sleep at home on March 26, 2014. He was born in DuBois, Idaho, on November 18, 1921, the son of a lawyer and state legislator and a miner's daughter. When the depression shuttered the legislature and bankrupted his father's major clients, the family moved to California. Dick graduated from Beverly Hills High School and entered UCLA. His education was interrupted by World War II in which he served in the Pacific theater. He fought through New Guinea and the Philippines and was among the first occupation troops in Hiroshima (where he helped rebuild a Jesuit church and met the future head of the order, Pedro Arrupe). Among his citations, he was awarded a Bronze Star, a Purple Heart and the Combat Infantry Badge. When he was discharged from the service after the war, he returned and graduated from UCLA. While there, he met his future wife, Estela, a student from Mexico City attending Mount St. Mary's College. Their courtship lasted seven years, by which time both had graduated and Estela had returned to Mexico. They were married in 1954 at the Basilica of our Lady of Guadalupe in a double wedding ceremony with Estela's sister Luz Maria ("Lucha"). Both grooms were American advertising executives. Before they were married, Estela told Dick she wanted to have seven children. He always insisted he thought she was kidding. Ten years later, they were living in Detroit with their seven children. In 1965, Dick had a chance to return to his agency's San Francisco office, where he had served a previous posting, and the family moved to San Rafael and remained there ever since. In the ensuing years Dick often explained that "you don't leave San Francisco twice." Dick worked for over 30 years at the same advertising agency, Campbell-Ewald, mainly concerned with the Chevrolet account. After his retirement, he joined Estela and her sister at their Spanish-language ad agency, Spanish Creative Services, along with brother-in-law Jack Miller. Dick was a member of St. Raphael's parish and a fourth degree Knight of Columbus. Into his 90s, he still participated in the annual West Coast Walk for Life in San Francisco as well as numerous other pro-life activities. He was a member of the American Legion, Veterans of Foreign Wars and the Queen's Club (comprised of veterans of the British and American armed forces), and was a former president if the 41st Infantry Division Association. In addition to his service in the US Army, he served in the California State Military Reserve, ending up as a lieutenant colonel. He was a loyal Republican (a lonely road in Marin County). He loved reading, especially about history, and more especially about military history, and he advised his children and grandchildren that their lives would be better if they always had a book with them to pass the time. Dick is survived by his seven children: Richard (Penelope), Lucette Besson (Herb), Kevin (Carmen), John, Francine Herzer (Karl), Carl (Sheila), and Paul (Rebecca). Also by 14 grandchildren: Brooks, Lindsey, and Nicholas Besson, Elizabeth Tipton (Seth), Kevin (Elyse), Karla Larsen (Dave), Christopher, Karl and Ryan Herzer, Carl, Chloe, Michael and James, and Katie. Great-granddaughter Jordan Tipton also survives him, as does a second great-grandchild eagerly expected in May. The revered matriarch who survives to shepherd his other survivors, as she faithfully attended him before and during his illness, is Lucha Miller, along with her son, John Paul. A rosary will be held at Keaton's Mortuary on Tuesday evening at 7 o'clock, and the funeral will be at St. Raphael's church on Wednesday morning at 10:30 AM. To leave an online condolence to the family, please visit the Keaton's website at - See more at:


  • Rosary Service Tuesday, April 1, 2014
  • Visitation Tuesday, April 1, 2014
  • Funeral Mass Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Richard Hanley Katerndahl

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Linda Jackson

April 13, 2014

Dear family - I had the honor to work with Dick when he served on the General Plan 2020 Steering Committee. He was a voice for people who didn't have a voice, who spoke with experience, reason and a view to the future. I enjoyed getting to know Dick, and admired his desire to help make San Rafael a better place over time. I wish you all comfort as you mourn the loss of a remarkable and generous gentleman.

Ryan Herzer

April 7, 2014

The consummate gentlemen, and the rock our family was built on. Brave and unflappable even in the face of adversity. Faced down fear and the very real possibility of death in the Pacific theatre of World War 2. Lived through the chaos of war which I'm sure only partially prepared him for his next real challenge, raising 7 strong willed children. I can only imagine the dynamic in that household but I'm certain there was no shortage of love and joy. It was my greatest fortune to be able to glimpse that familial closeness every Sunday at 31 Roberts Avenue for the majority of my childhood. The only regret being that I didn't get a chance to build what I know would have been a very special relationship with my grandma Estella. From the stories I've collected throughout my life of her from various sources, Grandpa Dick being her strongest proponent, I feel as if I know her and her love still emanates strongly through this family. Grandpa always kept her memory alive and I could tell he missed her greatly. His wait is over now and I know they're sharing a long overdue embrace as we sit here honoring his memory today. Grandma's passing was his ultimate test and ,as strong as he was, he couldn't have withstood it without the love and support of his family. His amazing children, my mother and aunt and uncles, pulled closer together and honored the legacy of love Estella had established and continued the rare and beautiful tradition of gathering every week just to be with each other.
Grandpa Dick had a great deal of wisdom to pass on to his children and grandchildren. His dapper dress, his disciplined lifestyle, his devout faith, his respect of women, and his strong love and devotion to his family have all resonated with me deeply. I'm not sure any of us will reach the incredible standard he has set but we are all obliged to try, and be the better for it. As a young child it was possible to misconstrue grandpa's apparent disciplined nature for sternness or unapproachability. This notion immediately dissolved when grandpa would crack a smile and start playing pincher bug with us. The absurdity of it was enough to keep us grand kids giggling for hours. Seeing this grown man in a full suit get in a moving box and slide down a set of stairs with us in Uncle Carl's first house in Tiburon really captured grandpa's fun loving attitude and his unconditional love for his grand kids. Truly anything to see us happy. It's what he did. He gave selflessly of himself and all he needed was a good book and a quiet spot to read. I imagine he'd make a great roommate.
As I write this tribute to the greatest gentleman I've ever known I'm realizing that nothing that can be written or spoken can truly capture what it is that made him so great. All one must do to realize his greatness is look out in the crowd today and see what he has left behind. Amazing individuals that love him more than they can effectively communicate. Everyone here has their own special connection to Dick and I know they'll carry it with them forever as I will. I will be forever grateful for my time with him and I promise I'll always do my best to make him proud. I love you Grandpa Dick. I can hear his response already. "I love you too Ducky."

Kevin and Nikki Keating

April 1, 2014

Mr. Katerndahl was a gentleman and a scholar. A stand-up person and someone who constantly was entertaining visitors. Always laughing and charming. We will miss him very much.

Gloria and Norman Wohlschlaeger

April 1, 2014

Prayers to all of you.
Your Father lived a very love filled, long life.

Gloria y Victor Garcia Mena

April 1, 2014

Siempre lo recordaremos con mucho cariño, un hombre con gran calidad humana,excelente esposo padre y abuelo. Ahora está con Dios. Bendiciones para toda su familia. Victor Manuel y Gloria Garcia Mena

March 31, 2014

Paul and Family,
Our thoughts and prayers are with you in these times. If there is anything we can do, please do not hesitate to ask.
The Levaggi's

Elizabeth Tipton

March 31, 2014

I will miss my Grandpa so very much. Few people make such an impact. He was genuine and upstanding. Regardless if you agreed with his beliefs or not, he was consistent and unwavering. A man of conviction and honor. Few people are like him and few people are lucky enough to have someone like him in their lives. I will think of you Grandpa, every time I see a bolo tie, when I eat cream of spinach or cantaloupe (you like it, you love it or you get a licking), when I see spotted dick pudding at the grocery store and when I see or read anything about WWII. I will miss how you would dress up in a full suit no matter how hot it was outside or how you never complained and were always content if you had a book with you. You would make us laugh when you would swim fully clothed because your skin was so fair, but you said you did it because you didn't want to make the ladies swoon over your handsome physique. Anytime I see someone with their pant leg tucked into one boot, I will wonder how much cattle they have and if I ever have a fireplace, I will most certainly play “boats” with the trash. You called us all Duckie and when you were proud of an accomplishment you'd say “Good show!”. You cared about the environment, recycling and healthy eating long before it was ever hip. You taught us all what you felt was genuinely right and wanted success for each of us. I will miss hearing stories about the jungles of New Guinea and growing up in Beverly Hills. I love how you would tell us about our family history and how Grandma would say that your family crest had “a peeeg” on it. You were part German and part Irish but spoke fluent Spanish and you loved Grandma Estela so much. I never chew gum because you instilled in me that it is unladylike or drink beverages while I'm eating because you believed it causes poor digestion. I love Martinis because you and Grandma looked so classy having your Martini and cigarette each night, which later turned into martinis and hot chocolate with Kevin Michael. I have so many great memories of you and although I am sad that Jordan won't have the opportunity to wait nervously while you inspect her report card, I am so blessed to know she has memories of you playing Tickle Monster and Pincher Bug with her, like you did with all of the cousins when we were young. You were a strong individual, a brave individual and above all, an amazing Grandpa.
Elizabeth Tipton

Mary Riley

March 30, 2014

So honored to have knows him! May Dick have Blessed Repose and Eternal Memory. My Thoughts and prayers are with all the family.

Fredi D'Alessio

March 29, 2014

Dear Katerndahl Family,

I am so sorry for your loss. May God console you and grant Richard eternal happiness with Him.

Joe Tassone

March 29, 2014

I was fortunate to met Dick when I joined the Knights of Columbus a few years ago. He was a great role model, as a Knight, a Catholic, and a gentleman. He always had a ready smile and a book in hand. He leaves a great legacy in his family. He touched many lives and we surely be missed. May he rest in Christ's Peace.