Peter Hooker Klaussen |
1924 - 2012
Died in Truckee, California from complications of Parkinsons disease on December 18, 2012. He was the son of Emily Hooker and Bjarne Klaussen and grew up in Lewiston, N.Y.
He graduated from Governor Dummer Academy and attended the California Institute of Technology before enlisting in the Army Air Corps in 1943. He led the first over water flight of B-25 bombers from Travis Air Force Base to Hawaii. He flew 25 low level missions in the south Pacific during WWII.
After his discharge he completed his BA degree at Amherst College and an MBA from Harvard Business School. He worked for Dewey and Almy and the Polaroid Corporation in the Boston area, later deciding to become independent and move out West. He came to California in 1955 and built a speculative ski cabin in Squaw Valley, Ca. which won an honor award in the Sunset Magazine Western Home Awards program. This was followed by Sunset Honor Awards for a house in Belvedere and another in Squaw Valley .
Peter worked with Monty Atwater on avalanche control prior to and during the 1960 Winter Olympics in Squaw Valley. He was later hired to plan the layout of Alpine Meadows and was its first general manager when in opened in December 1961. He did feasibility studies for ski areas which later became Northstar at Tahoe and Snowmass in Colorado. Peter also worked on a cloud seeding project for the Desert Research Institute at the University of Nevada, Reno.
After coming out west Peter started competing in senior skiing events. He won 10 championships in his class including Sugar Bowl's Silver Belt. He went on to coach junior racers in Squaw Valley, several of whom went on to become champions.
For several years Peter owned a sailplane at the Truckee Airport and actively pursued altitude and distance records in competition. Prior to the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, Peter was invited to carry the Olympic Torch through Squaw Valley which he completed with honor.
The Klaussen family made their home in Squaw Valley. Peter is survived by Joan, his wife of 55 years, his brother, Karl of Cambridge, Massachusetts, his children, Kaitlin Rawson (Chris) of Truckee and Daniel (Jennifer) of Arlington, Virginia and their children, Audrey Rose, Luke and Anna. He is predeceased by his parents and his daughter, Kari, and son, Eric. He is sorely missed by his family and friends.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 17, 2013