Paul W.A. Kortenkamp, senior account manager for Global Organics, Ltd. and Candy Industry Kettle Award Committee member, died Sept. 27. He was 53.
Born April 1, 1967 in South Bend, Indiana, Kortenkamp was the oldest of the six children of Leon Kortenkamp and Virginia "Ginny" (Leyes) Kortenkamp. His family lived in South Bend while his father completed his graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame, but they later moved to San Francisco and eventually settled in Belmont, California, where he spent his formative years.
Kortenkamp graduated with the Class of 1985 from Carlmont High School and attended U.C. Davis, where he made many close friends. In 1989, he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in agricultural economics and managerial economics.
After graduating from Davis, Kortenkamp began his career in the food and beverage industry, doing research and development for Blommer Chocolate Co. of Union City, California, followed by 10 years as the company’s Southern California sales associate. While living in Hermosa Beach with his college pals, they together bought a 27-ft. sailboat, and Kortenkamp was hooked on sailing.
Kortenkamp wed his wife, Suzann "Suzi" Sporing, daughter of Ronald and Micki Sporing, in 1998 and lived on their 52-ft. ketch, Vales Valeo, until Sonia Kai and Anna Grace, their two daughters, were born. They later moved on land to Redondo Beach, California. Kortenkamp loved coaching the girls' soccer teams and was an active parent in the St. James School Education Foundation.
In an obituary published in the San Francisco Chronicle, Kortenkamp was described as having “a big voice, a bigger heart, and was always available, lending a hand for whatever was needed.”
From 2001 to 2013, Kortenkamp served as director of sales for the Western U.S. for Barry Callebaut. He visited cocoa farms in Africa and developed a passion for making a fair and sustainable cocoa trade.
Paul and Suzi dreamed of and planned a grand family voyage to explore and experience the world. The family navigated their sailboat Vales Valeo on a 21-month journey south to Baja California, Mexico, Central and South Americas, then west across the Pacific Ocean stopping in the Galapagos Islands, many islands of Polynesia, and ending in Australia. Making friends with families and sailors from around the globe, the family covered 15,000 nautical miles, visited three continents, crossed the equator three times and crossed the International Date Line.
Returning from their voyage, Kortenkamp began work in 2015 as vice president at McKeany-Flavell Company, where earned his Series 3 trading license and partnered with a Price Futures Group to foresee and solve supply chain challenges in sugars and chocolate.
In 2017, Kortenkamp joined Global Organics, Ltd., Cambridge, Massachusetts, as senior account manager for the West Coast.
“He felt lucky to be part of a team that was working to find organic solutions for worldwide sustainable food development,” the obituary reads. “Through his joie de vivre and decades of work, he made the world a sweeter place. He was a legend in the food and beverage industry, yet most of all he loved his friends and family.”
In December 2019, Kortenkamp joined Candy Industry’s Kettle Committee, a group of confectionery industry suppliers that selects the recipient of the Kettle Award each year.
Kortenkamp is survived by his wife, Suzann (Sporing); two daughters, Sonia Kai and Anna Grace; his parents, Leon and Ginny Kortenkamp (Belmont, California); his siblings Mark (Joanna) of Seattle, Washington, John (Andrea) of Tübingen, Germany, Evangeline Brown (Shepherd) of Belmont, California, and Timothy (Liz) of East Palo Alto, California; his in-laws Ronald and Micki Sporing; sister-in-law Lisa Sporing and brothers-in-law Christopher and David Sporing. He is predeceased by his youngest brother, Abraham.
A funeral mass was held at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Hermosa Beach on Oct. 24. The family wishes memorial contributions be made to The Sailing Foundation 4610 N. 16th St., Tacoma, WA 98406.