Karl Mikkelsaar

Karl Mikkelsaar

January 10, 1930 - December 01, 2016

Karl Mikkelsaar

January 10, 1930 - December 01, 2016


Karl Mikkelsaar of Aliso Viejo, California passed away on December 1, 2016 at the age of 86. He is survived by his wife Tiia of 48 years. Memorial services will be held in January but details are pending.

Karl was born in Tartu, Estonia and at the age of 14 fled the country with his parents and ended up in the displaced persons camp in Augsburg, Germany. There he finished high school just before immigrating to the U.S. The family started a new life and Karl was able to get a college education majoring in Business. His jobs took him to various states and Canada, finally settling in Southern California. Attending Estonia Days in San Francisco in 1967 he met Tiia, they married in 1968. Karl was involved in many community organizations. He was an excellent student, avid reader and a history buff. He enjoyed sports, cultural events and nature.

Karl will be remembered as a gentleman and a true patriot. He will be remembered and missed by family and friends in America and Estonia.

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3 responses to Karl Mikkelsaar

  1. The Karemaas says:

    Our dear Tiia,

    Your beloved Karl lived a wonderful life. We are fortunate to have shared bits of it for many, many years. Whether it was skiing or hiking or dining or dancing, Karl always did it with flair. He was a gentleman and a scholar and totally devoted to you. He will be missed.
    With our deepest sympathy,
    Mary Sue and Aadu Karemaa

  2. Lit a candle in memory of Karl Mikkelsaar

  3. Brian Mattos says:

    Dear Aunt Tiia,
    My memories of Uncle Karl.

    I was only eight years old when I met Karl. He was wearing a suit with a neatly pressed dress shirt and tie and polished shoes. Karl and Aunt Tiia had stopped by our house in San Jose so that we could be introduced to him shortly before they got married. My first impression was that he was smart, kind, and had a great sense of humor. He was the consummate gentleman. I knew then that he would make a good husband for Tiia. I challenged him to a game of chess; it would be the first of several that night. I never won and he was quick to remind me of that. Did I mention that he had a sense of humor?

    Shortly after they got married, we visited Tiia and Karl in Westminster. I was awestruck by the models of some of the space rockets on his desk. Karl was very proud of his contributions at Rockwell and their contributions to the space program. He was also proud of beating me and my brothers in our ping-pong matches then. He was quick to remind me of that, too. Did I mention that he had a sense of humor?

    Karl’s competitiveness was not limited to chess & ping-pong. Karl was a champion trap shooter. We talked about going out trap shooting some day, but I didn’t need that much humbling. He was also a very good tennis player. I was in high school when Tiia gave me one of her old wood tennis rackets. It was my very first tennis racket. Karl quickly challenged me to a match. We drove in his cool Mazda RX7 to the Mile Square Park nearby in Fountain Valley to play on the public courts. As hard as I tried, I did not win that day either and he was quick to remind me of that, too. Did I mention that he had a sense of humor?

    Over the years, Karl was always eager to enter into intellectual discussions and lively debates. He was well-read and could enlighten you on anything from World War II to US-Russian relations to architecture. His stories and slide shows of his travels with Tiia were always interesting. I could easily imagine myself walking through cobble stone streets in old-town Tallinn, Estonia, or hiking in the Sierras with them.

    Many years later, while on temporary assignment in Costa Mesa, Tiia and Karl were kind enough to allow me to stay in their guest room during the week days. I flew home on the weekends, but I was able to spend time in the evenings with them a few days a week and I really got to know and appreciate Karl even more. He had an enthusiasm for life. He loved Aunt Tiia and she loved him. I admired their love & devotion to each other. He enjoyed literature, art, theater, going for evening walks with Tiia and their two schnauzers, and he enjoyed a good Gin & Tonic on warm summer days. I admit that I enjoyed those G&T’s, too! I will also never forget going to see “The Barber of Seville” with them. That was my first opera. (Thank God for super titles!) I enjoyed getting to know my Aunt and Uncle even better and will always cherish that time with them. After a year it was time to say farewell.

    I did not have many opportunities in recent years to visit Karl, but in October I did get one last chance to see him. He quickly recognized the t-shirt I was wearing that my mom & dad got me from the Pegasus Bar & Grill in Tallinn, Estonia. His eyes lit up and he pointed at it. I’m sure he had some fond memories there! He also smiled & nodded when I reminded him how he used to beat me in tennis. Did I mention that he had a sense of humor?

    I have only two regrets when it comes to my Uncle. One is not going trap shooting with Karl; and the other is not having a G&T with him at the Pegasus Bar & Grill. However, I will never regret having known my Uncle Karl. He was always the consummate gentleman, a great husband to my Aunt Tiia and a wonderful uncle to me. I miss him and will always think of him fondly. Even when I think of all those matches I lost! (I’m sure he will appreciate the humor.)

    Uncle Karl, my next G&T will be in your honor.
    Cheers, Uncle Karl!
    Love, Brian Mattos

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