Dad’s Obituary

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Here is what we put in the San Francisco Chronicle

G.J. (Jim) Fehlhaber


G.J. (Jim) Fehlhaber died at his home in the presence of family in Burlingame on March 22 at the age of 77. Jim was born in Springfield, Illinois on December 27, 1930 and grew up on a farm in Virginia, Illinois. He attended the University of Illinois and came to the Bay Area in the 1950s while serving in the United States Navy.


After working for York Refrigeration and Power Refrigeration, he launched his own consulting engineering company in 1985. He specialized in winery refrigeration and designed systems for some the state’s largest wineries, including Beringer, Robert Mondavi, Charles Krug, and Sutter Home. He held multiple U.S. patents for refrigeration designs and was still working just two weeks before he died of complications from leukemia.

He was active in Burlingame politics, where he served on the Traffic Commission and formed great friendships with Mayor Dave Martin and Mike Ellis (both deceased).


He was predeceased by his wife, Louise (Mullen) , who died in 1979. He was also predeceased by his two sisters, Phyllis Baer of Springfield, MO and Jeanne Robbins of San Francisco, CA.

He is survived by three children and their families: Ted Fehlhaber and his wife Katy of San Anselmo, CA; Randal Fehlhaber and his wife Susan of Everett, WA; and Kristen Fehlhaber and her partner Sophie of Swampscott, MA.Jim had a great love for his three grandchildren, Audrey Fehlhaber, Archer Fehlhaber and Leo Godley.He also loved his cats Max and Mona, the Chicago Cubs, Herb Caen’s column, Charles Schulz’s “Peanuts”, and the music of Louis Prima.He will be greatly missed by many.fehlhaber-family-on-beach-on-mazatlan-true-color.jpg

A celebration of his life will be held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 5, 2008 at Skylawn Memorial Park, Highway 92 and Skyline Blvd., San Mateo.

In lieu of flowers, donations in his memory can be made to The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, P.O. Box 4072 Pittsfield, MA01202 or to a charity of your choice.

6 thoughts on “Dad’s Obituary”

  1. Jim was a GREAT person.
    One of the smartest people I ever met. Would take all day, if needed, to explain something.
    Hank Hathaway
    Beringer Maint. Super. Emeritus

  2. April 12, 2008
    Please accept my deepest sympathies. I had the great opportunity to work with this fine man when I worked at Robert Mondavi Winery (1988-2006). I learned so much from jim about refrigeration systems and analog gauges. I feel fortunate to have have met Jim the person and Jim the engineer. Jim will be missed.
    Treven Chapouris (Napa, CA)

    March 31, 2008
    My heartfelt condolences to your family during this time of loss.
    Rachael Basye (Round Rock, TX)

  3. jim was the most down to eaarth and yet brilliant person from his early years till his passing ..he is sorely missed ….

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I think I may have met Jim once, long ago, introduced by his sister, Jeanne. She was a good friend at college in Berkeley. These wonderful pictures helped me be sure that Jeanne Fehlhaber Robbins was indeed my house-mate. Thank you for sharing this slice of family history. I am sad for the families of both Jim and Jeanne.

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