Karl Kilburg, 84, of Potomac, Maryland passed away peacefully in his home in Naples, Florida on Wednesday April 27, 2022. Karl is survived by his wife of 56 years, Erika, daughter Lisa (Joseph) Martinez, son Oliver (Amy) Kilburg and 6 grandchildren: Nicholas Martinez, Dylan Martinez, Christopher Kilburg, Carter Kilburg, Luke Martinez, and Jacob Kilburg.
Karl was born January 30, 1938, in Wintrich, Germany to Anna and Josef Kilburg. He left home at 14 years of age to begin an apprenticeship as a baker in a nearby town. After completion of his apprenticeship and having worked for a short while he immigrated to the United States and took a job with a family friend from Germany as a baker in New Jersey. From his job in New Jersey, Karl began his career with Marriott Hotels as a commissary cook in Washington, DC. A short time after joining Marriott he was drafted into the US Army and stationed in Germany where he met his wife, Erika. After leaving the Army, Karl rejoined Marriott holding numerous positions including Executive Chef, Food & Beverage (F&B) Director, Vice President of F&B, Regional Vice President, and finally, Executive Vice President of Continental Europe, bringing him full circle back to Germany. His incredible career truly embodied the American dream as his hard work and determination led him from his beginnings as a small-town baker’s apprentice to the pinnacle of his international field. In his distinguished 47-year career with Marriott, Karl’s greatest joy was mentoring and developing future leaders within the company. Along the lines of mentoring, Karl also loved to impart words of wisdom such as “If you love your job, you won’t work a day in your life,” “There is no finish line,” “If you don’t have anything good to say, don’t say anything at all,” and ultimately “Oatmeal is not negotiable.”
While Karl’s true passion was his Marriott career, he also found great joy as a marathon runner. He poured himself into running, participating in the New York Marathon over 20 times, tackling the Boston Marathon in 3:16, and ultimately running the Jungfrau Marathon in the Swiss Alps. From running, Karl discovered cycling and as he did with running, he challenged himself joining a cycling group who toured Europe on an annual basis.
Karl loved traveling the world with his wife, Erika, and spending time with his family over a plate of pasta and a glass of red wine. Karl taught his family many important lessons including striving for your best at everything that you do and the value of hard work. Karl always brought so much joy and happiness to everyone around him. His kindness and generous heart will truly be missed.
The family will host a memorial service and reception on June 17th at 5:00PM at the Bethesda North Marriott Hotel & Conference Center located at 5701 Marinelli Rd, Rockville, MD 20852.
In lieu of flowers please consider making a donation to the Parkinson’s Foundation at www.parkinsons.org