James "Kal" Charles Kaltenborn

April 8, 1932February 5, 2021

James Kaltenborn, 88, of San Diego, California, died peacefully on February 5, 2021 as a result of complications following surgery.

He was at home (where he wanted to be) with his wife of 64 years, by his side.

James was born in Detroit, Michigan on April 8, 1932 to Alfred Anthony Kaltenborn and Adella Elizabeth (Laschinski) Kaltenborn. He grew up in Evansville, Wisconsin where his father owned a photography studio on Main Street. He met his wife, Shirley Jeanne Weekes at Carroll College in Waukesha, WI where they were both members of the Concert Choir. Upon graduation in 1954, he entered the US Navy as an Ensign. Three days after Shirley graduated in June of 1956 they were married. He remained in the Navy for 29.5 years of active duty reaching the rank of Commander. Living in Groton, CT - San Diego, CA – back to Groton, CT – back to San Diego, CA – to Concord, CA – to Yokosuka, Japan – to various stations in the D.C area and Guantanamo Bay, Cuba while maintaining a family home in Fairfax, VA. The family moved back into their home in San Diego (purchased in 1960) where he finally retired from the Navy in 1979 at the ripe old age of 47. His next 41 years would be organized by enjoying golf on Monday, tennis on Tues through Saturday and singing in the Clairemont Lutheran church choir on Sunday. His “days of the week” were not Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, etc. . . . but Bill, Tom, Gig, John, Elek, and whomever was on the court that day. Each day after tennis he would swim a mile at 32nd Street Naval Base San Diego before coming home to his “Honey Do” list. He achieved Eagle Scout in his youth and maintained his love for camping and the outdoors throughout his life. His curiosity and ingenuity continue to be revealed in all the “gadgets” he created around the house for all types of tasks. His life was measured by Service to Family, Service to God, and Service to Country.

He is survived by his wife, Shirley of San Diego, CA; son Mark Kaltenborn of Kevelear, Germany; daughter Linda Isley of Escondido, CA; and grandchildren Miranda Kaltenborn, Alexander Kaltenborn, A. Jacqueline Kaltenborn, Caroline Kaltenborn, Diana Kaltenborn, William Kaltenborn, Sean Isley and Shannon Isley. He is proceeded in death by his son Stephen Ward Kaltenborn.

A community Celebration of Life will be held at Clairemont Lutheran Church on February 27, 2021 at 1:00pm. He will be laid to rest, beside his son, at Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery later in the spring. In lieu of flowers, please donate to your favorite charity in Kal’s name. Send Shirley a note at to let her know where his friendship and memories have inspired service.


  • Celebration of Life

    Saturday, February 27, 2021


James "Kal" Charles Kaltenborn

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