Petaluman takes on whitewater rafting, aviation and world travel


There’s a proverb that reminds us “Alternative knocks however as soon as,” so be ready when it does. My longtime buddy, Kim Arfsten, has taken benefit of almost each alternative supplied him. Consequently, his bountiful rewards embody perception to European capitals and Japanese Bloc nations, experiencing once-in-a-lifetime worldwide occasions, having fun with white-knuckle adventures and making friendships around the globe.

That’s a behind-the-curtain glimpse into the lifetime of this fourth-generation Petaluman.

Arfsten’s Petaluma pioneer heritage goes again to his maternal great-grandfather John McKim, who arrived right here from Eire in 1855, and his paternal grandparents Arfst and Inge Arfsten, who immigrated from the Isle of Fohr, within the late 1800s and owned a hen ranch on Center Two Rock Street.

The one baby of Frederick and Frances Arfsten, Frederic McKim Arfsten was born at Petaluma Common Hospital in 1945. Named after his father and in honor of his great-grandfather, he shortly acquired the nickname, Kim. Raised within the firm of many local people leaders and sports-minded townsfolk, his well-connected household proved useful.

However make no mistake, Kim carved out a lifetime of his personal selecting.

He attended St. Vincent’s Elementary earlier than transferring to Petaluma Excessive, graduating in 1963. His first jobs have been frequent to boys of that period ‒ delivering the San Francisco Name-Bulletin, shoveling out soiled hen homes for $1.25 an hour, pumping fuel at Kelly’s Richfield and sharpening flooring for Empire Constructing Upkeep.

Through the Vietnam Conflict, he joined the Marine Corps Reserves and beginning working at grocer Purity Shops. A number of years later, he discovered dwelling building from Philip Justis Constructing and Provides, constructing homes in Wikiup Estates, in Santa Rosa.

As supervisor at Charley’s Wine & Liquor, he helped proprietor Charley Terzian convert unused house into what’s believed to be Petaluma’s first wine tasting room, providing the most important wine choice on the town. Later, Kim and a bunch of pals, together with me, held our personal wine tasting events wherein every individual introduced a bottle of the identical varietal. We bagged and numbered them, then poured samples into one in all 5 glasses positioned in entrance of us. In a blind tasting, augmented by palate cleansers like French bread and fondue, we had a merry previous time tasting and deciding on our favorites.

Unbridled journey beckoned within the mid-Nineteen Seventies, when Arfsten enthusiastically embraced whitewater rafting on the American, Stanislaus and Tuolumne rivers.

“Whitewater rafting is simply one thing I fell for,” he stated. “It launched me to Class V rapids, like Troublemaker and Devil’s Cesspool. The sensation of using on one thing so immensely highly effective, and never getting harm, appealed to me.”

A self-proclaimed “whitewater junkie,” he labored summers for River Advocates and Sierra Whitewater. He developed a brand new definition for “wild and scenic” after finishing a 16-day, 226-mile Colorado River tour via the Grand Canyon.

Together with rafting, Arfsten enjoys aviation, significantly World Conflict II warbirds and Russian army plane. On many events, we’ve attended Northern California airshows, observing the Air Drive Thunderbirds and the Navy’s Blue Angels, together with historic plane.

In his working life, Arfsten developed an understanding along with his employers that he was inclined to simply accept spontaneous invites, a few of which included visiting the Netherlands, attending the Farnborough Worldwide Air Present in England, or sneaking onto “off limits” areas on a Russian air bases along with his Dutch buddy, Cees-Jan van der Ende, a world renown photojournalist and “airplane spotter.”

The duo needed to {photograph} the tail numbers on uncommon plane.

By no means reluctant to start out a dialog, Arfsten has made pals worldwide and has accepted invites to remain at properties in England, Germany and Holland.

“I met Cees (pronounced Case) at Farnborough,” stated Arfsten. “He’s a profession flight attendant that has offered me with the chance to go to so many world cities, such a Dubai, Warsaw, Moscow, Amsterdam and Ljubljana, the capitol of Slovenia.”

On a go to to Nuremberg, Germany, in October, 1990, he discovered the unification of Germany was near happening in Berlin. He made positive he was there to see the altering of the flags.

“I’m so grateful to Albert Woodbury Building,” he stated. “After we have been doing restoration work on Jack London’s home, in Glen Ellen, they allowed me day without work to go to Australia and New Zealand.”

His father was a well known sports activities determine and a former baseball, soccer and observe star, and in addition the 1922 pupil physique president at Petaluma Excessive. Fred labored as workplace supervisor at Kresky Manufacturing. He and his brother Jake, who’s ranked among the many greatest baseball gamers in Petaluma historical past, continued to play baseball for native groups. In 1930, Fred managed the Petaluma Aerie No. 333 Fraternal Order of the Eagles staff. A fan of the Pacific Coast League’s Oakland Oaks and San Francisco Seals, he inspired a teenaged rising star from San Francisco to come back play in Petaluma, providing $5 a sport. Consequently, for a number of video games that summer time “Joltin Joe” DiMaggio, was within the Eagles lineup. A 1933 autographed photograph to Fred from DiMaggio, who spelled his title DeMaggio on the time, attests to their friendship.

The latest Butter and Egg Day Parade reminded Arfsten of the connection his household had with the unique Egg Day celebration. In 1918, Marie Arfsten, sister of Fred and Jake, was chosen Petaluma’s first Egg Day Queen.

Frances, recognized to pals as Zay-Zay, was the daughter of J.T. Studdert, who was born right here in 1863. Studdert was Petaluma’s assessor and tax collector from 1913 till 1949. Acknowledged as one of many county’s most engaging younger women, Frances was chosen to pose for the official Petaluma Egg Day poster in 1923. She was within the operating for 1921 Egg Day Queen, however withdrew in favor of winner Marjorie Park. Whereas nonetheless in highschool, the Petaluma Day by day Courier reported she’d been elected queen of the highschool float, which was featured within the Egg Day Parade.

A San Francisco Examiner story from July, 1925, supplied this: “Broadly recognized magnificence Frances Studdert and star athlete Fred Arfsten slipping from their dad or mum’s properties in Petaluma to be secretly married in San Rafael. A member of one of many pioneer households of the county, her image steadily graced the catalogs of native manufacturing considerations.”

In 1932, the Arfstens purchased a brand new dwelling on Raymond Heights for $5,200, the place Frances operated a magnificence salon.

Retired since 2020, Kim is anxious for the chance to go on an Alaskan cruise, or to go to the fjords in Norway. When he does, it’ll be along with his greatest buddy and companion, Linda Williams.

“She lights up my life,” he stated.

To view extra images from Kim Arfsten’s life, discover this story on-line on Petaluma360.com. Harlan Osborne’s “Toolin’ Round City” runs the second and fourth Friday of the month within the Petaluma Argus-Courier. Contact him at harlan@sonic.web.



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