unoccupied Highway Patrol car that had reportedly crossed the median
from northbound to southbound traffic during a high-speed pursuit. He
died on a Loma Linda Hospital operating table at 9:50 p.m. after
having suffered a ruptured aorta.
"He's been my whole entire world," said Kae Kiermeyer, his wife of
11 years. "Emotionally, I feel like my life's over right now, but I
can't help but feel blessed to have known him the way I did."
Robert Kiermeyer came to the United States from Munich, Germany in
the late 1960s as a butcher, with just 83 cents in his pocket. He
began investing the money he made from his several jobs as soon as he
could afford it, eventually focusing on Laguna Beach real estate in
"He was so hard-working that he'd call me on Christmas to go see a
property," said Mary Lou Mathewson, his Realtor since 1985. "The only
day he wouldn't call me was on Mother's Day.
"Sometimes I was his good friend, sometimes I was his enemy,
sometimes I was somewhere in between," she said. "Robert had a great
heart and it will be missed."
Several of Robert Kiermeyer's tenants spoke at the funeral on
Wednesday about how willing he always was to help.
Nikki Fadel moved to Laguna Beach two and a half years ago only
because Robert Kiermeyer provided an affordable place to stay, she
said. After suffering a heart attack and losing work, Fadel said she
fell more than $15,000 behind on rent, but her landlord allowed her
"He not only didn't kick me out, but bought me tools and helped me
start my own business, and I paid him back every penny when I could,"
Fadel said. "He wanted people to build themselves up like he did for
himself. He was a landlord to the working-class people in Laguna
Fadel continues to run the business Robert Kiermeyer helped her
start, Laguna Tile. She said she suspected every restaurant in Laguna
Beach had at least one cook, busboy or low-income employee who rented
from Robert Kiermeyer.
"If he didn't make so many low-cost renting opportunities
available, so many more people would have to take buses in from Santa