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Jarl Lindfors

I write this in memory of my father, Jarl Lindfors, who was born in Helsinki, Finland in 1887. Because of dire economic conditions in his family, he went to sea at the age of 17 and sailed aboard Norwegian sailing vessels. He came to the United States in 1907. He served in the Revenue Cutter and Life Saving Services of the United States, and in the American Merchant Marine, as Chief Officer.

In 1921, dad married Kerttu Bloomquist, a beautiful secretary in the Finnish Consulate General in New York. In the same year, he left the sea and became the first Finnish consular officer in California, having been appointed Honorary Vice Consul of Finland in San Francisco for California and five other western states, as well as Hawaii.

In 1936, he was promoted to Honorary Consul and served until 1942, when, because of World War II, all Finnish consular offices were closed. He was re-appointed Honorary Consul of Finland in 1947 and served until the appointment of a career Consul General of Finland in San Francisco in 1960. For his services, father was decorated three times by the President of Finland. 

Throughout his life, dad was interested in athletics. As a young man, he participated in boxing, rowing and swimming, as well as track and field, in which his specialty was the shot put. Dad was of unquenchable intellectual curiosity. He loved history, economics and astronomy. On starlit nights, he enjoyed teaching his children, Kirsti, Hilkka and Pertti, about the celestial bodies of the Milky Way. Throughout his life he encouraged them in their academic pursuits, and his greatest pride was that they all graduated from the University of California, Berkeley.

Dad had an infectious laugh that still rings in my ears. He loved life and lived it with humor, grace and poise, until his death in 1968, when he joined his beloved wife, Kerttu Lindfors, who predeceased him.

For me, dad was a source of constant love, truth and encouragement. With extraordinary gratitude and a deep sense of my good fortune for having known him, I mark the memory of my beloved dad. I could not ask for a better model for the person I still hope to become. I am thankful every day that his path intersected with mine.

Pertti Lindfors