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Peter James EICHLER

EICHLER, Peter James 1928 - 2012 This past Friday, in the late afternoon, Peter James Eichler gave up his soul to God. He was 83 years old. It was fitting and just that his wife Joan was by his side at the moment of his passing, just as she had been by his side, day to day, throughout his adult life. Although Peter's life would have been notable on the basis of his professional accomplishments alone, it derived its deepest meaning from his role as a husband to his wife of fifty-six years, as a father to his one girl and five boys, and as a patriarch to his sixteen grandchildren. He was born on May 5th, 1928, at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downtown Los Angeles, the only child of Rudolph and Dorothy Eichler. The family resided in the Los Feliz and Hancock Park areas of the city. After completing his primary education at John Marshall Elementary, and his secondary education at Harvard High School, Peter attended Amherst College in Massachusetts, and later, Claremont Men's College.
In 1950, shortly after graduating from college, Peter was drafted into the army. He completed his basic training in California, graduated from Officers Candidate School at Forty Reilly in Kansas, and was honorably discharged in 1953 at the rank of First Lieutenant. He valued his years in the military. Peter's professional life was inspired by the accomplishments of his father Rudolph, who had co-founded the securities firm, Bateman Eichler and Company in 1932, during the depths of the depression, and who had led the firm through its early years. Peter joined the firm in 1953. Throughout his thirty-year career at Bateman Eichler, Peter displayed an exceptional aptitude and love for the securities industry. During the 60's and early 70's, he helped lead many of the firm's private banking efforts, which had included major equity offerings for such notables as Packard-Bell, and Max Factor. His visionary insight led him to become an early proponent and founding board member of NASDAQ. Later on, as Bateman Eichler's CEO, he guided the firm through a period of dynamic growth and profitability. By the early 1980's, Bateman Eichler had become the largest securities & investment-banking firm west of the Mississippi. Its standing and reputation eventually caught the eyes of Kemper Insurance Company, who negotiated to purchase the firm in 1982. Even with his executive duties behind him and his retirement years approaching, Peter could not bear to leave the securities business. He loved it too much. He spent the last sixteen years of his life - even up to the days before his passing - as an investment-advisor in the Westwood offices of CIBC Oppenheimer Securities, Inc. One of Peter's greatest passions was reading. And he pursued it with abandonment - mainly in the areas of U.S. and European history. He was singularly captivated by the events of the Civil War period, of which his breadth of knowledge approached a scholarly level. But above all, he was transfixed by the character of Abraham Lincoln. The mere mention of Lincoln's name would send Peter into a state of reverent contemplation. It is worth noting that Lincoln, too, died on a Friday during Lent. Peter and Joan were both active participants and contributors to their Catholic community. Peter - who converted to Catholicism later in life - was invested into the Knights of Malta in 2003, and served on the board of the organization's L.A. based healthcare clinic. More than anything, we are defined in this life by our devotion: a devotion to career, to cause, or to loved ones. Peter's devotion was pure and unbending. It was fixed on his wife Joan; on the integrity of their marriage, and on the cultivation of their deep feelings for each other. This, in turn, was his great gift to his children - to be wrapped within the swaddling of their pure love. So was Peter defined as a man. And so may he rest in peace. Service for his funeral will be held at 9a.m. on Wednesday, March 21, 2012, at St. Paul's Catholic Church, 10750 Ohio Avenue, Westwood, CA 90024, (310) 474-1527 (in lieu of flowers, the family would like donations to be made to Good Samaritan Hospital, Department of Cardiology).

Cabot & Sons, Pasadena

Published in the Los Angeles Times on Mar. 21, 2012
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