Jean- Pierre Koudelka, January 23, 1946 – March 5, 2023


Jean- Pierre Koudelka, January 23, 1946 – March 5, 2023

Pierre was born in Paris in 1946. His family moved to New York three years later where his father worked in restaurants, rising to be the Maitre d’ at the celebrated 21 Club. After school, Pierre attended Parsons College in New York and later Eastern Michigan University before joining the parking industry where he worked his whole life.

I first met Pierre over 20 years ago when he was with Walker Parking Consultants. Walker had embarked on an ultimately unsuccessful venture with a UK consultancy and Pierre was part of the team trying to make it work. Despite our lack of success, we became friends and kept in touch.

Pierre had a long and successful career in the parking equipment business. His career started with Automatic Parking Devices, later Federal APD, in 1969. It’s hard to say just how many companies Pierre was involved with over next 30 years or so because of the many mergers and acquisitions that took place. Pierre traveled extensively, to Europe, the Middle East, Asia, South America and Australasia. 

Inevitably, he had some interesting experiences, including being turfed out of a hotel at zero notice in Saudi because a VVIP had arrived with his entourage and commandeered the entire hotel. On a more somber occasion, Pierre was in the air on 9/11 and found his flight abruptly terminated at the nearest airport in Denmark. 

On a more personal note, I still remember when Pierre and I went to Amsterdam together and he convinced me that he could guide me through the center in my car. He knew the route, sure enough, but unfortunately it was the Tram route, where cars were prohibited! In addition to his “day job,” Pierre was an active member of the NPA and held several positions in the organization.

Away from parking, Pierre had a range of hobbies and pastimes that he followed avidly, and with great skill. He devoted a lot of time to his house and garden and was a skilled cook, both in the kitchen where he made his own pasta, and on the barbeque.  However, his pride and joy was his workshop where he created in wood and metal. Perhaps his greatest skill, however, was working in stained glass. Pierre made exceptionally fine stained-glass windows in designs that hark back to the first quarter of the 20th century.

Pierre was a family man. He married Sandy in 1974 and together they have three sons and a daughter. That family has now grown with 11 grandchildren ranging from 21 years to just 18 months.

In 2020, Pierre was diagnosed with esophageal cancer, and although at first it looked as if the treatment had been successful, the disease returned and Pierre passed away, surrounded by his family, in March. I corresponded a lot with Pierre in the last few months and he kept his sense of humor to the end.

Contributed by Peter Guest

Article contributed by the Parking PT team.
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