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PIET VAN CALBERGH 1/5/1951 – 8/28/2016

| Obituaries | September 15, 2016

Piet Remi Van Calbergh of Santa Clarita passed away on August 28, 2016 at UCLA Medical Center, Santa Monica. He was 65. Originally from Waregem, Belgium, Piet was born on January 5, 1951 to Marcel Van Calbergh, a carpenter and artist, and Marie Louise De Lombaerde, a professional seamstress. He grew up with seven older siblings (Jan, Therese, Jeff, Lieve, Mieke, Maryke and Lutje) in a house built by his father, which remains occupied by family to this very day. Following the untimely death of his mother, Piet attended a nearby boarding school at the age of three. Though small for his age, he made up for his size with a fiery personality and love of mischief.  Piet moved to America at the age of 17, and ever since, he has been in love with the USA. If there ever was an argument about the United States with his European pals, Piet defended this country, tooth and nail. He has worked as a travel agent for the past 37 years with his wife, Mary. Their first child, Ann Maki, was born in 1974, followed by Casey Emile, born in 1982. In 1988, Piet moved his family into their house in Santa Clarita, where his remaining years were spent raising his children, traveling, spending time with friends, getting to know his in-laws and grandchildren, and operating The Travel Affair with Mary. During this time he was also an active member of Rotary International, and co-founded the Belgian Business Club, an organization dedicated to promoting Belgian culture in Los Angeles. Well-known for his keen sense of humor, razor-sharp wit, generosity and love of fun, Piet cultivated seemingly countless friendships over the decades, spanning multiple continents. A freethinker, he remained open to new ideas, though he was never afraid to defend his own, always enjoying a spirited debate. Among other things, he was passionate about art, history, literature, film, chess, good food, music, soccer and wine. A master storyteller, Piet could bring any room to life with colorful tales of his many exploits. To match his vast stores of knowledge, he maintained an array of practical skills; he could lay a new floor in his house just as well as he could discuss the aesthetic principles of Monet. He loved entertaining, and could be frequently sighted at the center of a crowd, perhaps most famously at his annual Christmas Eve parties. Piet strongly felt that the key to happiness was in the enjoyment of small things in life, a philosophy he embraced in full, knowing always that moments spent with loved ones held the most value. Brave and valiant to the very end, Piet’s life was one truly lived, and he will be sorely missed by all. He is survived by his wife Mary, daughters Ann and Casey, grandchildren Kyle, Mia and Sienna, sons-in-law Brian and Tom, and a great multitude of other beloved family and friends.

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