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Richard Martin Andolsen

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Richard Martin Andolsen
June 27, 1927 ~ June 6, 2007
Monterey – Richard Martin Andolsek, also known as Richard Andolsen, age 79, passed away peacefully in the arms of his loving sister on Wednesday, June 6, 2007 at the Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula. Born on June 27, 1927 in Cleveland, Ohio, he was the eldest of three children. He entered the United States Navy at 18, and after an honorable discharge attended Ohio State University where he played football, and was a member of the wrestling team. Richard studied commercial art and worked as publicity manager for Loews Theater in Cleveland, where he promoted movies and brought major stars such as Debbie Reynolds, Patti Page, Helen O'Connell, Vic Damone, and many other big names in show business, to town for stage shows.
One of Richard's most daring feats took place, when as a young man in his thirties, he stowed away on the Queen Mary, then jumped ship swimming into Southampton in churning waters. Found by English Bobbies sleeping in a nearby park he was arrested and made headlines. He was released when his father contacted then Congresswoman Frances Bolton of Ohio. Shortly after, he married Maribel Boyd, a Canadian Socialite, and they had a son, David Boyd Martin. The family moved from Ohio to Southern California, where Richard worked as a pharmaceutical salesman. A few years later he moved his family to Monterey, and was divorced. Richard opened an antique store on Lighthouse Avenue in New Monterey, which he ran for many years.
In the late sixties Richard bought the Hamilton/Steinbeck house at 222 Central Avenue in Pacific Grove with his mother Anna recently widowed. After her death, the house passed to Richard and his sister, and has been alternately occupied by Richard and his sister ever since, Richard was a devotee of John Steinbeck, in particular Steinbeck's interest in King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. Richard founded the non-profit Steinbeck Arthurian Society, and held many discussion groups in the cottage adjacent to the house where it is believed Steinbeck, his friend Doc Ricketts, and many of their friends met at times to share stories, red wine, and cheap spaghetti.
During the years Richard was developing the Steinbeck House he fought valiantly to protect it from being torn down by the City of Pacific Grove. Richard was a maverick and had his own ideas about city building codes, and how he wanted the house to be. He was not a materialistic person, but he could fit into any class of society, not only because he was handsome and charming, but because of his brilliant mind. In the mid-eighties he met and married Louise Cardemone from Long Island, NY. They traveled extensively in Europe together and lived alternately in Santa Barbara and Pacific Grove. During this period of time Richard sought out the renowned expert and author on Mythology, the late Joseph Campbell, and arranged for him to speak at the Cherry Foundation in Carmel. Richard and Louise spent several subsequent days entertaining Mr. Campbell and his wife in the home of friends in Carmel and Big Sur.
Ever the promoter, Richard bought many famous people to his Steinbeck House and Museum hoping to peak their interest in the Steinbeck only he knew and understood. Steinbeck's interest in mythology and Camelot was seldom discussed by other Steinbeck authorities. Richard believed that Steinbeck and Homer were one. Steinbeck had contacted Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy after John Kennedy's untimely death, due to the Kennedy's well known interest in Camelot.
Richard entertained many prominent people such as John Barrymore Jr., and Bill Murray the actor, as well as every day people and many European travelers who would simply notice the Steinbeck statue he had built in front of the house, or hear about Richard, the house and the tiny museum. They would just drop by to listen to Richard's presentations on Steinbeck as well as his own philosophies of life. He enjoyed these visits more than anything.
In the late nineties Richard's only child, his son David, was found dead in the Steinbeck House, and thus began Richards decline into depression, and his hopelessness over the declining moral state of society. He was a sensitive, artistic, creative man and he felt as though he could not live in a technological world. Eventually his health began to deteriorate. On January 1, 2007 he was rushed to Community Hospital by ambulance. It has been reported that his cherished home and small museum were in terrible disarray, but the bed he was found in was piled with his beloved books. He never recovered. Richard was preceded in death by his Father Frank R. Andolsek, his Mother Anna M., and a brother, David, whom he named his son after, He is survived by his only sister, Geraldine A. Andolsek of Grover Beach, California. He leaves behind many close friends and associates.
A service will be held to honor Richard's memory on Wednesday, June 20, 2007 at 3:00pm with visitation at the Paul Mortuary in Pacific Grove from 1:00pm to 3:00pm., with service at 3:00pm. No burial services are planned at this time. In lieu of flowers please send donations to The Steinbeck Spiritual Society Memorial Fund in care of Richard Andolsek at Washington Mutual Bank, or to Stanford University’s Steinbeck Studies Department in Richard’s name.
Published in The Monterey Herald on June 14, 2007
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