Community bids Chi Kredell farewell

A fireboat salutes the late Ronald “Chi” Kredell at the memorial paddle out in his honor on Sunday, March 28. Photo by Elizabeth Kane

Eisenhower Park was filled Sunday morning, March 28, for the celebration of Ronald “Chi” Kredell’s life. The memorial service was followed by a paddle out. The sun was bright and the day was beautiful.

The Los Angeles Fire Department provided bagpipes and a Color Guard. A fireboat saluted him during the paddle out. The U.S. Navy provided an honor guard. A truck from Station 38 was present to represent his last assignment with LAFD. Both the Navy and the Fire Department presented flags to the Kredell family in honor of his service.

“I estimate there were about 260+ people at the memorial, 30 ‘boarders’ paddled out, and many dozens lined the pier to watch,” wrote Elizabeth Kane, a friend.

Kredell’s son, Chi Kredell Jr., delivered the eulogy.

Ronald “Chi” Kredell

“Thank you, Seal Beach Lifeguards, Long beach, Lifeguards, Los Angeles Fire Department, and city officials,” Chi Kredell Jr. said.

He gave a brief biography of his father. When Ronald Kredell was 12, his father passed away. He, his sister, and mother went looking for a new home. One day they came to Seal Beach. Ronald Kredell borrowed a fishing rod, caught a fish off the Seal Beach Pier and told his mother he wanted to live here.

Ronald Kredell attended school where McGaugh Elementary is today. A teacher named him Chi and the name stuck for life.

He found his passion for saving lives, according to Chi Kredell Jr., when he became a Seal Beach Lifeguard. Chi Kredell was 14 at the time.

He later became a commercial fisherman. During what is now called the Korean War, he served on the U.S.S. Kidd. In 1957, he entered the fire academy. In the 1960s, according to  he met a beautiful parade princess (Nancey Kredell). They married.

In 1976, Chi Kredell was elected to the Seal Beach City Council. Zoning was reduced for 25-foot properties so duplexes could not be built on them. Seal Beach fire services were moved to the Orange County Fire Department. According to Chi Kredell Jr., he save saved the water tower.

Kredell has also been credited with stopping what is now known as the Greenbelt from being developed for condominiums.

Kredell also opened a McDonald’s with Regis Philbin, who has been quoted as describing Kredell as the most laid back mayor he ever met.

The night before Chi Kredell passed away, his son said, “I love you, Dad.”

“Chi, I know that.”