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Obituaries: Millard Archuleta

May 27, 2010

Former La Cañada resident and retired architect Millard Archuleta died May 19 in Rancho Mirage, where he lived in recent years.

Archuleta was born in 1929 in Longmont, Colo., where his parents managed a golf course. In 1940 the family moved to the Los Angeles area where he attended Fremont High School. Known as "Arch" to his family and friends, Archuleta took an experimental curriculum in photography and architecture at Fremont. After completing 2,000 hours of classes in architectural drafting and related subjects, he became a junior architectural draftsman and was hired by Burke and Kober, one of only two companies with a national reputation for designing retail stores.

While working for Burke and Kober, Archuleta continued his education in architecture at Polytechnic, Los Angeles City College and the USC School of Architecture.

Archuleta married his first wife, Diana, in 1950 and the couple had two sons: Justin and Christopher. They lived together in La Cañada until Diana's death in 1975.

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Archuleta served with the 25th Infantry Division during the Korean War. He was released from active duty on Thanksgiving Day, 1953. The next year he went to work for Welton Beckett Associates. In 1955 he returned to Burke and Kober, which had become Burke Kober Nicolais.

He was a project architect on department stores during this period, including Bullock's Fashion Square Santa Ana and Sherman Oaks, and the Rossmoor Corp. Leisure World projects in Laguna Hills, Walnut Creek and Seal Beach.

In 1961, Archuleta became a licensed architect and partner in Burke Kober Nicolais Archuleta. He formed Millard Archuleta Associates in 1973 and soon operated four regional offices with more than 150 employees. Developer Ernest Hahn was the firm's top client.

For the Frank Rhodes Development Company, another major client, Archuleta served as architect on four medical office buildings in Newport Fashion Island and a 10-story medical office building in the Irvine Spectrum area.

In 1975, Archuleta married his second wife, Hildegarde, a former fashion model and concert violinist who dedicated her time to raising her stepson Christopher during his education at Flintridge Preparatory School and USC.

In 1988, Andy Feola and Millard Archuleta joined forces as Feola and Archuleta Architects. Among their many projects was the Dilbeck Realtors office on Foothill Boulevard at Chevy Chase Drive in La Cañada.

Archuleta was elected to membership in Lambda Alpha, an international honorary land economics fraternity, was presented the Humanitarian Award from the National Conference of Christians and Jews and the National Award of Excellence from the Pacific Coast Builders Conference.

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial donations to: Betty Ford Center, c/o Eisenhower Medical Center, 39000 Bob Hope Drive, Rancho Mirage, CA 92270.

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