In Remembrance: Harold Muckenthaler
Beloved Cultural Foundation Founder Passes
Courtesy of the Muckenthaler family, “The Muckenthaler Cultural Center’s beloved founder, Harold Walter Muckenthaler, passed away on April 16, 2013 at the age of 90. His final days were spent surrounded by family and friends at Sunrise Retirement Community in Fullerton. He was born October 1, 1922 in Fullerton, California—where he lived his entire life—to his parents Walter and Adella Kraemer Muckenthaler. Harold’s maternal grandparents were Samuel Kraemer and Angelina Yorba of Placentia—both from Orange County pioneer families dating back to the Spanish Rancho era. His paternal grandparents, Albert and Agusta Muckenthaler, moved from Paxico Kansas, settling in the German Colony of Anaheim in 1909.
Harold spent his childhood years growing up with his parents in the home they commissioned to be built in 1924. The 18-room mansion and 8.5 acres were donated to the city of Fullerton in 1965 by Harold, who wished to see his childhood home used as a cultural center for the public to enjoy. In 1999, the Muckenthaler House / Muckenthaler Cultural Center / ‘The Muck’ (as it is affectionately referred to) received designation by the National Register of Historic Places.
Harold attended Fullerton Elementary School, where he met Shirley Zoeter (who he later married). He graduated from both Fullerton High and Fullerton College. In 1942, Harold joined the Military, spending four years in the Navy as a Flight Engineer prior to the being discharged.
Through the years, Harold was involved with many local groups and community organizations including—Saint Mary’s Parrish, Fullerton Elks, American Legion, Orange County Farm Bureau, Council of California Growers, Placentia and Fullerton Chamber of Commerce, Orange County Sheriff Advisory Council, Association of Naval Aviators, along with 20-30 Club and Kawanis. He was a lifetime member of the National Rifle Association.
Harold was actively involved with citrus ranching and private investing, serving on many Boards of Directors as an Officer and in a leadership capacity with Ventura Coastal / 7-Up Corporation (26 years); Valencia Bank; Yorba Orange Growers Association / Sunkist (President); Founders K Corporation (Vice President); Upper K Ranch Corporation (Vice President); Ventura Alpha Ranches Corporation (Vice President); FKC Partners; Kraemer VI Incorporated; Muckenthaler Cultural Foundation; Fullerton Cultural & Fine Arts Commission (Vice President); Boys and Girls of Fullerton (President, Charter Member and Organizer); University National Bank; Fullerton Parking Commission; Newport National Bank; Orange County Children’s Hospital, and Valencia Bank.
His interests included family, travel, hunting, and golf.
Harold is survived by his two daughters, Peggy Albert of Brea, and Kathy Riddle of Newport Beach, five grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his wife of 67 years–Shirley in 2010; and their daughter–Sheryl in 2007.”
The family’s wish was to hold a private family ceremony, which was held this past Wednesday. If the public wishes to celebrate Harold’s life and legacy they are invited to attend the free Summer Solstice Festival at the Muckenthaler on Sunday, June 23 from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. We will be dedicating the festival to Harold at noon with a special ceremony followed by Grammy nominated music group Trio Ellas, TED talk highlighted blues prodigy Ray Goren, international tacos and more.