April 22, 1951-March 16, 2019
Redwood City, California
Peter Fenerin, 67, passed away on March 16, 2019 from metastasized prostate cancer with his loving wife Rene Cortinaz by his side. Peter was born and raised in Palo Alto and lived most of his life in the Bay Area. Peter attended parochial school at St. Albert the Great in Palo Alto through grade 7 and experienced public education for the first time in the eighth grade at Jordan Jr. High in Palo Alto. Public school gave way to a Jesuit education for high school where he attended and graduated from Bellarmine College Preparatory in San Jose, class of ’69. From an early age he expressed his nature for exploration in a variety of interests. He began beekeeping at age 11 which he continued for several years and would sell his honey to his Palo Alto Times paper route customers. At about the same age he began sailing solo in San Francisco Bay out of the Palo Alto Yacht Harbor (no longer active). As a young teenager he began learning boat-building at Aeolus Boatworks in Davenport under the tutelage of Bill Grunwald. Over several years he built wooden boats for himself for both sailing and rowing. Peter struggled along the way with his love for working with his hands at Aeolus Boatworks and his desire for education. He attended UCSB but being infected with the bug of building boats won out over a formal education. With Peter’s burgeoning love for travel he was able to enjoy the passage assistance program to Australia at age 19 where he lived and worked in Sydney for over a year and when the clichés about Australia turned out to be true. He still considered it a second home today and he and Rene made three visits to Australia over the years. He was fortunate enough to find employment in the hospitality industry with Travelodge Proprietary, LTD. Prior to that, in desperation, he took a job with New South Wales Government Railway which fueled a life-long interest in steam railroads. But being homesick for California he returned home where he spent the next several years in construction. During this time he took time off to be a dancer which were some the most physically satisfying years of his life. People said “for a carpenter, he wasn’t a bad dancer.” He also practiced yoga and occasionally taught classes In Palo Alto when it was a great time to do the arts. He gave up dance and focused on construction to form his own construction company. It was at that time that he met Rene, the love of his life, or as he would say in his beloved Spanish, “el amor de mi alma." He said he would never forget looking into her deep brown, forgiving eyes, and knowing she was the one. She would later tease him saying those forgiving eyes were a necessity. They dated for a year, lived together for seven years, and were married for 29 wonderful years. With the Loma Prieta earthquake nipping at Peter’s heels, he realized how impermanent life was and proposed marriage. They married at home and received a wonderful small ceremony with family and friends. Following the earthquake Peter as a general contractor, got into restoring antique unreinforced masonry buildings (URMS) in the South Bay saving a 1870’s family building that received landmark status as the Glein-Fenerin Building. Peter began work on his family properties as the first restoration work of URMS to help preserve heritage buildings and presented the first seminar with Preservation Action Council and the City of San Jose and other stakeholders. As part of the City of San Jose’s outreach program he continued work until he was surprised at being offered a position as a building inspector and spent the past 21 years with the City of San Jose Building jurisdiction. Peter became president of the building inspectors union, ABMEI, which he held for 7 years after long-serving Tom Brim decided to retire. Peter was very proud of his work with the union and his fellow building inspectors and advancing the cause of labor. Peter was known to be a superb cook, conversationalist, gardener and story teller who could turn a phrase. He loved wildlife, travel, the natural and built environment, maritime history, reading, studying Spanish, good food and wine, and most of all time with his wife and dear friends. Peter and Rene made their home in Redwood City for the past 21 years following 15 years in Palo Alto. Peter was preceded in death by his parents, William and Virginia Fenerin, and by his sister Patsy Luniewski. He is survived by his wife, Rene Cortinaz, brother Michael Fenerin (Janet), brother-in-law Carlos Cortinaz, and sister-in-law Patricia Fuller and a multitude of friends – all of whom will miss him terribly. A celebration of Peter’s life is planned and his ashes will be scattered at sea as he desired. If you want to sign his guest book you may visit http://peter-fenerin.lastingmemories.com If you wish to donate in Peter’s memory to one of his favorite nonprofits, please consider: Sierra Club, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Ducks Unlimited, Peninsula Open Space Trust (POST) and Habitat for Humanity.