Family grieves for all

April 13, 2003 11:00 pm

By ABBY SOUZA

While Robert Kolp Jr. has made the trip from his Seattle home to his parent's home in Columbia before, this last trip was a painful one.

"We are just grief stricken," he said of the loss of his father. Robert "Bob" Kolp Sr., 86, on Thursday suffered complications from a blood clot that stopped his heart while driving on Stockton Road and struck pedestrian Aimee Eaton, 27, who died at the scene. The chain-reaction crash also left eight other vehicles damaged and required that the road be closed for several hours.

But the younger Kolp's grief is not only for his father, or his mother — 86-year-old Loretta Kolp was a passenger in her husband's car and suffered injuries. He grieves, too, for Eaton's family.

"We just have these nagging thoughts about Aimee," he said, struggling for words. "There's no blame, no reason, nothing to explain it."

The younger Kolp calls the incident "so out of character" for his father — a football-loving, golf-playing, retired salesman from the Bay Area.

"My father lived a long and happy life," he said.

After serving as an Army lieutenant in New Guinea during World War II, Robert Kolp Sr. opened a corner grocery store in San Francisco. He met his future wife at the store and they were married in 1947.

Once their son was born, the elder Kolp sought a job with better hours, so he became a salesman at S&W Foods. He worked for the company for more than 30 years.

"Everyone that met Dad liked him," the younger Kolp said. "He was a kind man and loved the companionship of other people."

Upon retiring, the elder Kolp and his wife moved to the Mother Lode.

"For them, this place was heaven," their son said. "They just loved it."