Charles Richard Kolb
Charles Richard Kolb
September 15, 1923 – January 24, 2023
Charles “Dick” Kolb, beloved family patriarch, World War II veteran, fireman (retired) and adventurous outdoorsman, died from complications related to COVID on Jan. 24, 2023. He was 99.
Dick was the oldest of four children born to Charles and Frances (Hill) Kolb, who preceded him in death along with his first wife Mary, brother Donald and son Bryan Wilcox.
Born in San Diego and raised on a five-acre farm near Southcrest, Dick graduated from San Diego High School in 1942. After graduation, he worked for his father, who owned a truck repair shop near downtown San Diego. He then joined the Navy and was completing his pilot training when World War II ended. Dick left the Navy in 1947 and returned to the repair shop where his father hoped he’d take over the family business. But Dick had other aspirations, and in 1951 he joined the San Diego Fire Department, where he rose through the ranks and held various positions before retiring in 1980 as Battalion Chief.
Dick was a fearless pillar of unimpeachable integrity and strength for his family and others … and a bona fide hero recognized for several lifesaving acts as a fireman and in his personal life. He received a commendation from the City of San Diego for saving the life of a neighbor buried in a mudslide. He also saved the lives of two others, including an infant that had stopped breathing and a man set ablaze during a campfire accident.
A passionate adventurer, Dick loved camping, hunting and fishing. Among his favorite destinations were Mexico, the Sierras, Alaska and Modoc County in Northern California. He also loved animals, especially his dogs that regularly accompanied him on long hikes, and hummingbirds that appreciated the backyard feeders he kept filled with his homemade sugar water. When he wasn’t tending his fruit trees and tomatoes, Dick was an avid reader and huge fan of the San Diego Padres.
Dick leaves behind a life well-lived and a long list of survivors, including his loving wife of 59 years, Thelma; sons John (Carol) Kolb, Stephen (Pam) Wilcox, Brad Wilcox and Todd (Christie) Wilcox; daughters Patty (Michael) Capps and Kathy (Marty) Kovacevich; 15 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren; and siblings Margaret “Peggy” McPherson and Leonard Kolb.
Dick’s family and friends will hold a private Celebration of Life following a graveside service on Fireman’s Hill at Greenwood Memorial Park.