Peter Donald Binkley, a longtime North Coast resident and the founder of Binkley Alarm, one of Northern California's oldest security systems companies, died after a long battle with Parkinson's disease. He was 81.
Binkley grew up in Palo Alto but moved to Santa Rosa with his family in 1940. He attended Wallace School in Rincon Valley and in 1949 graduated from Santa Rosa High School.
Binkley began his college studies at Santa Rosa Junior College and then transferred to Stanford University, where he received a bachelor's degree in civil engineering in 1953 and an advanced degree in civil engineering two years later.
At Stanford, he enrolled in the ROTC program and he began his military service with the U.S. Marine Corps in 1955. He was commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant in 1956 when he met his wife of 56 years, Monta Ray, at an officers' club in Pensacola, Florida.
"We met in a dance in April and got married in September," she said, adding that Binkley was very outgoing.
After he left the military in 1959, the couple lived in Southern California for a while before they moved to Santa Rosa. Binkley went to work for his father, who owned Binkley Pump Service.
Binkley helped expand his father's business, adding lawn sprinkler services. Eventually, he launched his own business in landscaping and irrigation. A friend he knew back in Stanford had started an alarm company and Binkley decided to do the same.
He ran the business a little more than four decades before selling it to another alarm company in 2009. Binkley worked hard to make the business a success, spending long hours and weekends to keep his customers happy.
In 2005, Binkley Alarm was awarded the Diamond Certified symbol after it received high marks for quality and customer satisfaction from the American Ratings Corporation.
"We were the only North Bay alarm company that got that," said Binkley's daughter, Debbie Kent of Rohnert Park. Kent was the company's office manager and whose husband was general manager before it was sold. She said her father was very proud of the business.