Peter A. Karstedt

24 08 2011

In memory of

Peter A. Karstedt



By John Masefield

I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky,
And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by, 
And the wheel’s kick and the wind’s song and the white sail’s shaking, And a grey mist on the sea’s face, and a grey dawn breaking I must go down to the seas again, for the call of the running tide Is a wild call and a clear call that may not be denied; And all I ask is a windy day with the white clouds flying, And the flung spray and the blown spume, and the sea-gulls crying.

I must go down to the seas again, to the vagrant gypsy life,
To the gull’s way and the whale’s way, where the wind’s like a whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn from a laughing fellow-rover,
And quiet sleep and a sweet dream when the long trick’s over.

Contribution from:  Jack Hart

From Roger Bailey, Senior Program Supervisor at the River House:

I remember the day when Peter walked into the River House to see about working in the sailing program. It was a cold wet day. We sat and chatted on the couch in the living room for a while and it was readily apparent this enthusiastic giant of a personality was working through the challenges of recovering from brain cancer. He had lost the sight in one eye.  He was in a cancer support group. He was trying to get a handle on being healthy. And he fiercely wanted to give back to the sailing community.

I gracefully declined his offer of working here. Not yet, I thought. It will take some time to see if Peter can find a place within his challenges to be in a position to put his students and their learning first. I doubted I would see Peter again.

I was wrong. He was relentless. You know how he can be that way.

I set him loose with the sail staff during trainings. I set him loose with students, adults and youth. I honestly don’t know who loved him more, the students, especially the little ones who for them, Peter was a REAL pirate, that he would take his glass eye out to show or the adults he taught to sail successfully by feel.

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When Peter really wanted to talk with me I could always count on him to plop down in the chair, take a slow deep breath then launch into what was on his mind. Topics usually started with how impressed he was with a 1st mate or student to the latest update on how he was managing his health, to how much better the boats would look with a new coat of paint.

We overcame his lack of depth of field with a specific pattern when Merry painted the decks of the J 24’s. Peter also counted the steps from the helm to the shrouds to the bow pulpit so he could move around the boat he was responsible for. He adapted and we worked it out. We all are better for it.

Peter was a force. He made me laugh more times than he knows. He made me shake my head more times than he knows. I know he toned it down while working in a public program. I can only imagine what some of you know and have experienced with him. Who is going to write those tales of which I know there are many.

Peter’s ashes will be spread at sea off the coast of Maui. May those of you who’s keel pass above him be blessed with fair winds and safe passage.

Peter, I miss you already.

~Roger Bailey

A quote from Peter shared by Brendan Currie a first mate on Peter’s boat:

“I don’t know where I am, or where I’m going, But I know exactly where the wind, and water are,  and what will happen when they meet.”

We will keep you updated about memorial gathering plans and any needs the family might have.

Note:  If you would like credit for taking any of the photos of Peter, please let us know so we can give you the credit you deserve.

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7 responses

25 08 2011
Kimberley Karstedt DeSeranno

Thank you for sharing this. My uncle was an amazing man and it’s so nice to see how many his life touched.

25 08 2011

snuck right out, did’ja peter weasel? cuz’ we never really thought you’d ever want to leave us, right?
OK OK you (might) be missed occasionally…as weasels are~
seeing how you didn’t take your stories along with you~
maybe we invision all the angels you’re seducing~weasel wings and all…

you were loved peter weasel, you were surely loved.

25 08 2011

I will miss Peter’s zest for life, and the easy way he laughed and tried to make sure those around him were happy. He was a great model of friendship. One night I was planning to drive to Corvallis to pick Melissa my daughter up from college. I really didn’t want to go alone. I think it was saffron who suggested I invite Peter so I did. I was so happy. He was so grateful which struck me because it was I needing the company. he politely asked me about some things but when I asked him about himself he went on to tell me in detail about his family and growing up, his relationship with his father and things along that line. I was touched by his openness. I agree that Peter has never seemed
More comfortable in his skin than the
Last couple months. I think he was doing what he loved: sailing and being a friend.

29 08 2011
Wanda Hightower

This could have never been better said about Peter. He was always there for you and very persistent that you follow through with what you want to do in life. He was my biggest mentor when I decided I wanted to run the ULHRA tower position for the rescue side. I remember him saying be sure that you have the time to devote as it will be extremely busy. He was the greatest friend anyone could have ever wanted. Peter you will be so missed within not only in my life but any life that you have touched. You will have your rest in the arms of our Lord now.

6 03 2012
Nina Hoffman


I took several of the photos of Peter (including the silhouette at the top of the page) when he and the River House staff took the Wednesday Afternoon Cancer Support Group crowd on a sail across the reservoir. He set these sailing trips up several times, and it was wonderful — we had such a good time, with a potluck picnic thrown in. It brought us all closer to each other.

I miss Peter’s generous spirit, and his sense of humor. I appreciated his impulse to love and help people who needed him, and it was inspiring to see all the people who gathered around to help him toward the end.

Miss you, buddy.

Nina Hoffman.

9 03 2012
Wanda Hightower

He was a friend to many people and I truly miss his kind and jolly spirit in everything he did it was from the heart

20 10 2012
Desmond Policani

I woke last night at 4am and Peter’s face came to me…I hadn’t seen him in 9 years and in my semi wakefulness could not remember his name. After resolving to look him up again the coming week, I started drifting to sleep again when his name Popped into clarity. I grabbed my tablet and searched only to find …in dismay, this beautiful testiment. Thank you all for this work. Thank you Peter for who you were while here, and for our all too brief aquaintance.

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