Abstract

Peter Henry Gardett was a man of many friends and an excellent geologist. He was very proud of being a California pioneer and often returned to his birthplace and spent time hiking in the hills where he was born. Peter H. Gardett was born in Bakersfield, California, on May 3, 1913, to Henry B. Gardett and Evelena Gohna Gardett, both from ranching families in the Poso Flat and Woody areas of Kern County. His great grandfather, Christian Gohna, was the first European settler in the Kern River area that is now Bakersfield. His grandfather, Peter Gardett, was the first citizen naturalized in newly formed Kern County, and he registered the county's first cattle brand. Pete graduated from Bakersfield High School on May 3, 1939, and then attended the University of California. After a short period, he transferred to California (Berkeley). In the same year, he married Barbara Hope Fleisher, also a graduate of Bakersfield High School and a music graduate of Mills College. Barbara's family were long-time residents of Laguna Beach, her grandmother having built a cottage at 150 Ceder Way in 1911. During World War II, he served as a photo reconnaissance officer in the Navy, where he was a Naval Ensign, stationed first in the South Pacific and later on the Island of Attu, in the Aleutian chain. After the War, he worked in Los Angeles and Wyoming for the General Petroleum Co. In the early 1950s, he became an independent consulting geologist, and established a small petroleum exploration company. He also worked extensively with geologists Ted Bear, now of Dove Canyon, and Phil Kistler, now of La Jolla, and many others. Pete and Barbara lived in San Marino. Barbara died in 1965 after a seven-year fight with cancer. Duke Thornburg of General Petroleum Corp. met Pete at the University summer field camp. This not only led to a job offer with General Petroleum Corp., but also to a strong and lasting friendship. Duke was a gifted geologist, widely respected for his accomplishments and sound, common sense. Pete felt he benefited greatly from Duke's help and advice. In 1967, Pete married Anne Fetzer Olmsted of Pasadena. They lived in Laguna Beach, where he consulted in the area. Long lunches were often with lots of chatter with many old friends and geologists. Pete spent a lot of time visiting old friends as well as geological friends. He enjoyed looking for and visiting friends that he had not seen in recent years. He very seldom sent cards, but always called friends to send hello and greetings. Pete always enjoyed Christmas with our family when he wasn't with one of his two sons. Pete collapsed and died suddenly just outside his condominium. His death occurred near Divers Cove, where throughout his adult life he had taken pleasure in watching the rocks and tides and the passing scene. Pete was a person of strong principles. He was known for his no-frills loyalty and reliability, and over the years he cared for many people in need or poor health. To his sons, he was exemplary and indulgent. His humor was careful and quiet. He was happiest outdoors. In his own words, "I feel that I have been extremely fortunate to have had Kern County pioneers as forebears and close family; to have been blessed with many (but not enough) years as husband to two fine women; to have sons and stepsons as well as their families, who are fine people; and to have enjoyed a profession that I believe is populated by a larger number of nice and fun people than in any other line of work." In accordance with his wishes, his body was to be cremated and his ashes mingled with those of his wife Barbara and scattered at sea. He wished no funeral, but suggested that memorial contributions in his name might be made to the AAPG Foundation, Tulsa, Okalhoma. Following Pete's wishes, his two sons, Cam Gardett and Kit Gardett, sent a card with a picture of their father to as many of his friends as they could locate. In accordance with his wishes, Pete's memorial, organized by his two sons, was held at a park on the bluffs above the Pacific Ocean in front of Pete's condominium. The waves were active and it was beautiful. His sons spoke to the group of 300 friends of geologists and wives. It was a beautiful day. The petroleum industry, and particularly the geologic profession, lost a revered friend with the death of Peter Gardett. His warm personality, friendly interest in people, and love of geology led to a noteworthy career that included both corporate and consulting work. He felt fortunate to be on the scene at a vital time in the petroleum exploration and development in California. His circle of friends was widespread and included many people who were key figures in the oil business. He is survived by his two sons and their wives, Peter Campbell Gardett and his wife, Roxane of McLean, Virginia; Christopher William Gardett and his wife, Amy of Makawao, Maui, Hawaii; two stepsons, Charles S. Olmsted and his wife, Lynda, of Carmichael, California, and Richard L. Olmsted of Honolulu, Hawaii; his sister, Mary Popenoe of Portland, Oregon; and four grandchildren, Peter Christian Gardett, Marie Isabel Gardett, Evelyn Haddan Gardett, and Mackenzie Anne Gardett.

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