ForeverMissed

     It is with great sadness that the family of Alexis (Alex) Serge Kovaleff, of Palm Desert, announces his passing on Sunday, December 30th, 2018, at the age of 83.

      Alex will be lovingly remembered by his wife of 63 years, Gladys, and his three sons, Toby, and his wife Trish; Kirk, and his wife Debbie; and Mike, and his wife Kristine. Alex will also be remembered by his six grandchildren, Katie Dudek, and her husband Ryan; Holly Jainoor, and her husband Hazim; Ashley Burleigh, and her husband Kevin; Karly, Calvin, and Cash, his three great grandchildren, Jake Jainoor, Jaci Jainoor, and Jack Dudek, and his sister Anna Peterson, and her husband Don. 

     A celebration of life in honor of Alex will be held in Huntington Beach on Sunday, March 3rd, 2019. Please email the Kovaleff Family at KovaleffCelebration@gmail.com for further information.

Posted by Sara-Lee Okada on March 3, 2019
There are those people that enter and exit your life without leaving a trace. Alex Kovaleff was not one of those people. I worked for Alex for nearly nineteen years. He was demanding but understanding, hard-working and eager to share the credit with those who had earned it. Alex was honest, fair and very down-to-Earth. But also he could be very fun loving with his colorful story telling. Alex took a leap of faith promoting me to a position for which I was not trained, and it changed my life. He would have been my all time favorite boss before that, but that really sealed it! And my heart goes out to Gladys, Toby, Kirk, and Mike and their families.
Posted by Dave Ritchie on February 19, 2019
Alex was a giant in the industry, a great mentor and an outstanding human being; it’s truly an honor to have known him as a boss and as a friend for nearly thirty years. Alex was always a pleasure to converse with; he would gladly discuss anything from business practices, compressors, hot rods, airplanes or motorcycles; you could learn volumes from his vast experience and perspective. Alex had a way of bringing out the best in whoever he came in contact with, and will be sorely missed by many here, but happily greeted by those who’ve preceded him on his next journey.
Posted by Darryl Branstetter on February 2, 2019
My wife Janet and I have been friends with Alex (Bunky) and Glady (Hop Sing) for about 25 years. Bunky has been the best friend a person could ask for from the moment I met him. He had "integrity" in every way. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was a pleasure to talk to and he and I never ran out of conversation. I have a technical/mechanical/nerd background and Bunky was one of the few people I felt close to that understood what I was talking about and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him describe some of the many incredible projects he worked. He had a brilliant mind and unbelievable technical skills to make things and build things and obviously repair things. Through thick and thin he was always available and accessible. We loved spending time with them in Yucca Valley and one time were fortunate enough to have a friend fly Hop Sing in a Piper Comanche right over their property on a beautiful day where the Caboose and rest of the house and property stood out dramatically. Even though we lived about 30 miles apart, we regularly met them for dinner at their favorite Mexican restaurant in Desert Hot Springs and never ran out of wonderful conversation. We loved Bunky and we love Hop Sing and will miss him dearly but will keep him alive through our great friendship with Hop Sing.
Posted by Mike Fieldhouse on January 15, 2019
Early in my Millwright career Alex saw something in me that I didn't see for myself. He helped to instill a sort of confidence that I needed to develop. Not that I had to know everything about being a Millwright/Mechanic. It was about using my resources to get answer on a problem and then confidently applying that to the job at hand. And as most know, Alex was a terrific resource mechanically and available always to mentor. I'll always be thankful for that.

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Posted by Sara-Lee Okada on March 3, 2019
There are those people that enter and exit your life without leaving a trace. Alex Kovaleff was not one of those people. I worked for Alex for nearly nineteen years. He was demanding but understanding, hard-working and eager to share the credit with those who had earned it. Alex was honest, fair and very down-to-Earth. But also he could be very fun loving with his colorful story telling. Alex took a leap of faith promoting me to a position for which I was not trained, and it changed my life. He would have been my all time favorite boss before that, but that really sealed it! And my heart goes out to Gladys, Toby, Kirk, and Mike and their families.
Posted by Dave Ritchie on February 19, 2019
Alex was a giant in the industry, a great mentor and an outstanding human being; it’s truly an honor to have known him as a boss and as a friend for nearly thirty years. Alex was always a pleasure to converse with; he would gladly discuss anything from business practices, compressors, hot rods, airplanes or motorcycles; you could learn volumes from his vast experience and perspective. Alex had a way of bringing out the best in whoever he came in contact with, and will be sorely missed by many here, but happily greeted by those who’ve preceded him on his next journey.
Posted by Darryl Branstetter on February 2, 2019
My wife Janet and I have been friends with Alex (Bunky) and Glady (Hop Sing) for about 25 years. Bunky has been the best friend a person could ask for from the moment I met him. He had "integrity" in every way. He never had a bad word to say about anyone. He was a pleasure to talk to and he and I never ran out of conversation. I have a technical/mechanical/nerd background and Bunky was one of the few people I felt close to that understood what I was talking about and I thoroughly enjoyed hearing him describe some of the many incredible projects he worked. He had a brilliant mind and unbelievable technical skills to make things and build things and obviously repair things. Through thick and thin he was always available and accessible. We loved spending time with them in Yucca Valley and one time were fortunate enough to have a friend fly Hop Sing in a Piper Comanche right over their property on a beautiful day where the Caboose and rest of the house and property stood out dramatically. Even though we lived about 30 miles apart, we regularly met them for dinner at their favorite Mexican restaurant in Desert Hot Springs and never ran out of wonderful conversation. We loved Bunky and we love Hop Sing and will miss him dearly but will keep him alive through our great friendship with Hop Sing.
his Life

     Alex was born in San Francisco, California in 1935 to Serge and Alexandra Kovaleff. He attended Cabrillo Elementary School in San Francisco until 1943, when his family moved to Burlingame, where he attended Hoover Elementary School. He then attended the California School of the Mechanical Arts (Lick-Wilmerdin) in San Francisco from 1949-1952 before graduating from Burlingame High School in 1953.  

     Alex’s father Serge Peter Kovaleff of Russia, passed awayin 1949, as President of Enterprise Engine and Foundry Company in San Francisco. Alex’s mother, Alexandra Michael Kovaleff (Tearo) of Estonia, passed away in 2001 in Alhambra, California. 

      Alex started working at the age of 14 and continued throughout his teenage years with jobs at the El Camino-Howard Service Station, the House of Flowers, the Burlingame Advance newspaper, the Tahoe Tavern in Lake Tahoe, and at the Diamond C Ranch in Ukiah, California. He became a member of the United States Naval Reserve at the age of 17 and while still in high school. Following high school, Alex moved to the Los Angeles area to pursue employment opportunities.

     Alex became a machinist at Precision Engineering Company in 1953. In 1954, he applied and was accepted to be a Police Officer with the Los Angeles Police Department. While waiting the six months to turn 21 to enter the police academy, he met his future wife Gladys and his career path stayed within the mechanical arena. 

     Alex married Gladys in 1955 and they purchased their first home in 1959 in La Mirada, California. In 1961, they moved to Illinois where Alex oversaw Chrome Crankshaft Company. In 1964, they moved to Long Beach, California, where Alex returned to become the General Manager of Precision Engineering Company. In 1969, he left Precision Engineering Company and became a Field Superintendent at Western Engine Service, in Terminal Island, California. In 1971, he accepted a position with Thomason Compressor as a Field Superintendent. He continued at Thomason Compressor until he became the Chief Operating Officer of Thomason Mechanical Corporation, serving in that position from 1981 until 1994. Alex was licensed as a General Engineering Contractor in California, Nevada, Arizona, and New Mexico. He left Thomason Mechanical Corporation in 1997 and started Kovaleff Mechanical Services, Inc. Alex formally retired from Kovaleff Mechanical Services in 2003. He moved to Yucca Valley in 1994 after his son Toby built his dream home there. Alex and Gladys moved to Palm Desert in 2017. 

      He was the member of dozens of organizations during his lifetime, including drag racing with the Peninsula Timing Association, the United States Navy, the YMCA, the Boy Scouts of America, the Chain of Lakes Boat Racing, Who’s Who, the Concorde Flyers Association, the Reno Air Race Checkered Flag Club, the Locomotive Maintenance Officers Association, the Binnacle Club, the Bilge Club, the Propeller Club, the California Sports Car Club, the Southern California Millwrights and Machinery Erectors,  the Millwright Employers Association (President), the Western Petroleum Club, the National  Aeronca Association, the International Comanche Society, the American Power Boat Association, the American Motorcycle Association, Los Angeles Port Engineers, the Pacific Energy Association, International Harvester Collectors, and the Antique Truck Historical Society. 

    Alex built and raced several inboard and outboard racing boats from 1949-1964. He enjoyed restoring and riding several different motorcycles from 1964-1990.  He owned, flew, and restored several different airplanes from 1985-1997 and spent nearly all of his adulthood restoring cars and trucks. He participated in drag racing and built several racing engines. He was involved in the racing at the Bonneville Salt Flats for over 14 years. Alex collected and restored several vintage tractors and also restored a 1929 ATSF Caboose. He truly enjoyed driving, cooking and traveling. His travels took him across 49 states, Mexico, Canada, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, England, Scotland, and Ireland. Alex was a fixer of all things mechanical, from a one million horsepower turbine to antique cuckoo clocks. He was an avid fisherman who enjoyed camping and exploring remote areas of California. 

      Alex lived an incredible life, shaped the lives and careers of many, and will be forever loved by his family and friends

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God Bless Alex Kovaleff

Shared by Bill D’Andrea on January 15, 2019

I look forward to attending & celebrating the life of Alex Kovaleff.  Although many years have passed, I was lucky enough to know the Kovaleff Family.  God Bless Gladys (whom is a tremendous lady as well) and  Toby & Trish, Kirk & Debbie and Mike & Kristine. I was just a kid at Cubberley when I would go across the street to their home. Alex was a big, strong man, but very kind to us kids.  Gladys was the playground ( Cubberley) noon duty adult & was also so wonderful to everyone.  My parents knew them well & my younger brother thought of them as 2nd parents in the 70’s & early 80’s. They welcomed my brother Jeff to their escape in Johnson Valley.  I remember Plaza L.L. & Whaley Park ( Thomason Compressor). God Bless the entire family! May the happiness of his great memory keep you close to him forever!