Franz (“Heinz”) Rolinek, Oct. 23, 1940 – July 21, 2016
A resident of Berkeley for over 35 years, Heinz was born in Steyr, a medieval hill town in Austria, during World War II. He moved to Stockholm, Sweden in his early 20s and then immigrated to the U.S., first to New York and then to Oakland.
Before his 40th birthday, Heinz moved into a small warehouse complex at 709 Jones St. in West Berkeley, then an industrial area. A machinist, he started his own business (RPM) designing and producing high-end machined turn-tables and tone-arms. Heinz loved to makes things. He made jewelry, parts for old cars and motorcycles, and specialized tools. He forged iron into candlesticks; bent and welded iron into decorative window grates; built tree houses, toys, and furniture for his two children; and helped artists fashion sculptures. He would stop working when family or friends dropped by.
Heinz could often be found “holding court” in front of Jones St., walking down Fourth St. with friends to grab a cup of coffee at Bette’s, walking the hills and streets of Berkeley, or climbing in the Sierra mountains.
Heinz found joy and humor in life even when it served him bitter fruit. He was a force of nature and will be greatly missed by his son, Daniel Rolinek, his daughter Nikola Rolinek, his partner of 20 years Carol Benioff, and many other family members and friends.
A celebration of his life will be held on Sunday Oct. 23 (when Heinz would have turned 76), at 709 Jones St., 3:00-6:00 p.m.
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