Glenn Leigh Caldwell, a retired telecommunications manager and Korean War veteran, was also a musician, singer, handyman and doting grandfather.
Caldwell, 80, died at his Petaluma home on Dec. 6 of pulmonary fibrosis and lung cancer that stemmed from his wartime service aboard a Navy vessel, his family said.
Elaine Caldwell described her husband as a "kind, gentle soul" who "always knew the right thing to say to anybody" and never hesitated to use his "Mr. Fixit" skills around the house, his church or for a friend.
A singer and banjo player, Caldwell played in a musical group at Petaluma United Methodist Church and sang in the church choir.
In his last year, he taught himself the intricacies of banjo repair and refurbished his own instrument, said his daughter, Chris Caldwell-Collins of Petaluma.
Her father was an engaging conversationalist who also had a keen, analytical mind, Caldwell-Collins said.
Working in her father's stock brokerage office as a teen, Caldwell-Collins said she learned from him the fundamentals of business that she has applied in her own career as a human resources manager.
"He was very big on thinking logically," she said.
Caldwell also loved music and family, and was "just wild about his grandchildren," his daughter said.
Born in Detroit, Mich. in 1932, Caldwell attended a private school, living with the headmaster and his wife, then graduated from high school in Detroit, where he sang in the school and church choirs.
Caldwell joined the Navy and served aboard the USS Dionysus as an electronics technician and fire crew member. The Department of Veterans Affairs granted him full disability for the lung diseases in May.
After the war, he studied business at San Francisco City College while he worked as a technician at Pacific Bell, also serving as a shop steward.
In 1967, he went to work as a stockbroker and trader in a San Rafael brokerage firm, where he met his wife, Elaine, in 1968. Caldwell opened his own brokerage firm in 1971.
Years later, Caldwell combined his interests in technology and business and transitioned his career into telecommunications with Fireman's Fund, a subsidiary of American Express, in San Rafael.
In 1985 he relocated to Phoenix, Ariz. and worked for 10 years as a telecommunications manager with American Express.
Caldwell partly retired in 1995 to work as a telecommunications consultant, and in 2005 returned to Petaluma, fully retired.
During his working career he owned two airplanes, flying them primarily for business.
Caldwell served as a trustee for the Petaluma Methodist church, belonged to the Petaluma Elks and Rooster Run Men's Golf Club, where he served as a course marshal.
Survivors, in addition to his wife and daughter, are his sons, Glenn Caldwell of Shawnee, Okla., Dennis Caldwell of Santa Rosa, and Jim Badaglia and Ronald Badaglia, both of Petaluma, and 11 grandchildren.
A celebration of Caldwell's life will be at 11 a.m. Jan. 5 at Petaluma United Methodist Church, 410 D St.
Memorial donations may be made to Hospice of Petaluma, 416 Payran St., Petaluma, 94952 or a favorite charity.