Cover photo for Peter Alfred Goldberg's Obituary
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1928 Peter 2023

Peter Alfred Goldberg

December 29, 1928 — December 2, 2023

Peter Alfred Goldberg was born on December 29th, 1928, in Braunsberg, East Prussia (now Braniewo, Poland). He passed into the arms of God peacefully on December 2, 2023, after a decline in his health. Peter was 94 years of age. 

Peter was the first child of Alfred and Irmgard Goldberg. As the eldest of five children with four younger sisters, he was a beloved older brother and modeled loving leadership in the family’s early life together in their small Prussian village.  

At age 15, in 1943, with war tearing through Eastern Europe, Peter was drafted into the German army, but narrowly escaped this fate with the help of his father and a business associate. In a well-told family story, secret passage was arranged for Peter on a freight ship departing from Gdansk, where he boarded as a stowaway. In the final moments before departure, Peter courageously outsmarted an SS officer’s security clearance check by concealing himself behind a smokestack, listening for the nails on the bottom of the officer’s boots scraping the ship’s steel floors. Had he been caught; he would likely not have survived. He escaped the horror of the war and went to Bavaria, where he rejoined his family and completed his apprenticeship in flour milling in 1946. He was employed at various mills, and in 1953 he joined MIAK, a German-based milling equipment company that sponsored his move to the United States.

In 1955, Peter returned to Germany to marry Gisela Broschinski, a Braunsberg childhood acquaintance who had captured his heart years earlier when they coincidentally reunited at a Catholic church event in W Germany for young people. Through Peter’s employment they moved to Minnesota the same year to start a new life. Through his impressive determination and discipline, Peter taught himself English by watching American TV shows and films. As Gisela noted when it came to Peter, “Still waters run deep.” Though Peter was an impressive force, his quiet nature elided the depth of his reflections and the force of his love for her and their family.

Peter, standing at 6’ 1”, was a tall man who led a big life. From 1956 to 1963, he and Gisela welcomed five children, all raised and schooled in the Catholic church. He was a loving and devoted father who took an active interest in his children’s many accomplishments in academics, sports, and music. A committed Catholic, he was active in Knights of Columbus and proud to have been selected to be Grand Knight. Though it was important to Peter to pass down his staunch work ethic to his children, he took great joy in sailing and taking his young family to Half Moon Bay and lakes. He and Gisela loved to take golf trips together and were at the heart of their community. They loved entertaining their many friends with lively parties where they would showcase their accordion mastery. He maintained strong ties to their German family, and warmly welcomed his siblings, cousins, nieces and nephews for extended visits to the States.

After designing and selling dehydrated garlic milling equipment to Basic Vegetable Products, he was hired as their Plant Manager in King City, CA. This began a 30-year career that evolved to being National Sales Manager and relocating from Ann Arbor, MI, to Belmont, CA, and then finally to Davis, CA, in 1973. He worked for Basic Vegetable until 1988, when he started his own industrial ingredient brokerage company. His second son, Paul, joined in this venture from 1989 to 1998. At age 71, Peter retired and fully enjoyed life with Gisela, spending time with grandchildren, traveling, and playing golf at Yolo Fliers Club three times a week until the age of 89 in 2017. 

Known lovingly as “Opa” to his nine grandchildren, the Goldbergs’ Davis home was a gathering point that gifted all with special memories of warm, sun-soaked afternoons playing in the pool and eating barbeque. Opa the grill master shared his dry and earthy humor by cracking jokes and never hesitated to give his grandchildren lots of affection. He took great care to connect with each grandchild, sharing anecdotes of their German heritage and offering practical career and life advice based on his astute understanding of each one’s talents and interests.

His wife Gisela sadly passed away in 2000 after a long battle with cancer. Peter fell in love with and remarried widow Margaret (Maggie) Beedon, who loved Peter dearly and showered him with tenderness and affection. They enjoyed life in Palm Desert and in Davis, where Peter continued to hone his golf game. The two spent time traveling and hosting family visits, and were beloved by their many friends. Their 20-year marriage lasted until Maggie’s death in August 2022. 

Peter is survived and dearly missed by his four children – Paul Goldberg (Stephanie), Trish Timothy (Kim), Theresa McPherson (Bruce) and Cecilia Burkhart (Scott), stepchildren Heidi Burkhart, Kristi Kuchs (Charlie), Markie Burkhart, Scott Burkhart (Cecilia) and Bil Burkhart, nine grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and two sisters in Germany, Christiane Hippler and Constance Schneider. 

In addition to wives Gisela and Maggie, preceding Peter in death were Peter’s eldest child Markus, and his sisters Carla Hanke and Marianne Boehm, of Germany.

There will be a memorial service held at St. James Church in Davis on January 3rd at 11am. Reception will follow at the Timothy residence in Woodland, January 3rd at 1 pm.

In lieu of flowers, please make donation to:

Maryhouse of Loaves and Fishes of Sacramento (sacloaves.org) or Yolo Cares (yolocares.org).

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