Cover photo for Theodore  Kornweibel Jr.'s Obituary
Theodore  Kornweibel Jr. Profile Photo
1942 Theodore 2022

Theodore Kornweibel Jr.

December 15, 1942 — December 13, 2022

Dr. Theodore Kornweibel, Jr. passed away December 13th, 2022 at home with family. He battled Multiple System Atrophy for over twelve years, outlasting medical expectations.


Ted was born on December 15th, 1942, in Pasadena, California and was raised in  Glendora and Corona del Mar.  As a child, his father took Ted and his two brothers to watch trains on the Santa Fe line, sparking a lifelong passion for railroads.


He received his bachelors and masters from U.C. Santa Barbara where he was involved in the Free Speech and Anti-War movements. After graduating, he taught American History at the HBCU Prairie View A&M University in Texas.  It was there he delved into African-American History in order to make the subject of history more relevant to his students.


Ted and Catherine were married in 1968 and moved to New Haven, Connecticut where he pursued his doctorate in American Studies at Yale. It was there that their daughter Kate was born in 1970.  


After receiving his doctorate, he taught Black History at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania.  In 1977 Ted accepted a position to teach Black History in the Africana  Studies Department at San Diego State University, retiring in 2006. 


Over the years Ted and Catherine remained members of College Avenue Baptist Church  active in refugee resettlement, hospitality to foreign students and service on the missions committee.  Saturdays found Ted at the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo, restoring vintage railcars, sometimes to the annoyance of his wife who had a “to-do” list of home projects.  


Scholarly research remained a lifelong passion. Among his numerous published works are the books Railroads in the African American Experience: A Photographic Journey, "Investigate Everything": Federal Efforts to Ensure Black Loyalty During World War I, and Seeing Red: Federal Campaigns against Black Militancy, 1919-1925. Up until weeks before his death he was putting the final edits on the memoirs of a family friend who survived a German POW camp in WWII.


Ted was predeceased by his two brothers, Richard and Kenneth, and his daughter Kate. He is survived by his wife Catherine, his sons Daniel and James, and six grandchildren.


The family would like to give a special thanks to all healthcare providers from the Kaiser Medical Group, Kaiser Hospice, Home Instead La Mesa and our other caregivers.  In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in his name to the Pacific Southwest Railway Museum,  College Avenue Baptist Church, or Mercy Corps


Celebration of Life to be held at College Avenue Baptist Church January 29, 2023 at 2pm.







To order memorial trees or send flowers to the family in memory of Theodore Kornweibel Jr., please visit our flower store.


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