Redondo Beach’s Joe Czuleger did it all: businessman, boater, diver, fisherman, skier
Joe Czuleger lived one heck of a life during his 95 years as a Redondo Beach resident.
He witnessed a full solar eclipse while on a fishing trip off Baja California. He was on a boat in Los Angeles Harbor the one day Howard Hughes flew the Spruce Goose. In the late 1940s he downhill skied at the Palos Verdes Country Club, following a very rare snow storm. In 1967, he attended the first Super Bowl, in Los Angeles. In 1985, he was shipwrecked on Kodiak island in Alaska, after his anchor line broke and his boat went up on the beach The Kodiak bears wanted the salmon on his boat, and he let them have it.
Czuelger passed away one day after his 95th Christmas.
Along with his father and brother, Czuelger ran the Redondo Trading Post (now called Redondo Marine Hardware), from 1953 to 2020, often working seven days a week. Today, Redondo Marine is the last independent marine store between San Diego and Ventura.
In 2020, the California DMV took away his driver’s license, but he continued to drive the store’s Caterpillar forklift.
Redondo Marine is the last independent marine store between San Diego and Ventura.
Czueleger was born in Dallas, Pennsylvania while his parents were there visiting relatives. But he was back in Redondo in time to celebrate his first month.
After being drafted into the army following his junior year in high school, at Villanova Prep, he was sent to the Philippines to fight the Japanese
He was in the first group of Americans to enter into Hiroshima, Japan, after the atomic bomb was dropped. After the war, he was in one of the first classes at El Camino College. He graduated from UC Davis in 1953 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Husbandry.
Czueleger was a sailor, and powerboater; snow, and water skier; and freshwater and saltwater fisherman. He was also a hunter, horseman, bicyclist, private pilot, and SCUBA diver.
He gave up golf for 30 years, but resumed playing after a heart attack.
Czuleger and his wife Helen were married for 66 years. They had six children: Russell, Jerry (wife Collette), Tony, Rick (wife Lauren), Mike, and Cathy. He also had five grandchildren: Sarah, Brooke, Kaitlin, Jill and Kyle; and three great-grandchildren; Jackson, Garrett and Jameson. They all survive him, along with siblings Rosemary (Rea), Annette (O’neill), Antoinette and James. He was preceded in death by his parents Charles and Olive, and his siblings Charles, John, Margret-Ann and Richard. To his 34 nieces and nephews he was lovingly known as uncle Joe.
He was a strong family man with a strong Catholic faith and was liked, admired and respected by all who had the honor of knowing him.
The Czuelger family would like to thank all who visited and prayed for him these last few years, with special gratitude to his in-home caregivers, hospice staff and the staff of the Silverado Beach Cities.
Czueleger will be laid to rest at Los Angeles National Cemetery. Services will be held at a later date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his memory to the Providence Trinity Care Hospice, Torrance. ER