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PK outside Kamar's Office building PK outside Kamar's Office building. PASCAL KAMAR

Born in 1923 in Jerusalem, Pascal Kamar, or PK, was a disc jockey for BBC and became well known in the area as a musician and bandleader. He played clarinet, sax and drums and toured the Middle East with a 13-piece group and with a 52-piece orchestra, and was known as "The Glen Miller of the Middle East." During World War II, he served as a lieutenant in the Royal Air Force.

In 1949, he immigrated to Southern California, and was disappointed that he couldn´t get work as a musician. He studied business at Loyola Marymount University and, in 1958, after various jobs, he started a company importing gift items with his wife, Astrid. Propelled by the success of their very first creation, Hexter, it quickly evolved into a toy company.

Handling the business, design and international sales for the company, Pascal would personally create thousands of toys, earning the reputation as a modern-day Gepetto, especially with his Old World emphasis on quality of craftsmanship. After over 30 years at the helm, PK retired in the early ´90s to relax and travel.

Pascal Kamar passed away in 2006. He will be long remembered for his gentle whimsy, warmth and human values, reflected in each and every one of his toys.

Astrid receiving an award for Business Woman of the Year Astrid receiving an award for Business Woman of the Year. ASTRID WENNERMARK KAMAR

A native of Southern California, Astrid worked at KTTV and then with the U.S. Foreign Service as a cryptographic specialist in Washington, D.C. and Jamaica before meeting and marrying PK.

Astrid handled the company´s domestic sales and marketing, and found factories around the world to keep up with the growing business. "A tall, blonde, cool-looking Southern California girl," Astrid was an innovative businesswoman and mother of three. She received much attention from the press for converting a twin-engine plane into her "showroom in the sky." Traveling around the country, she whisked customers up for lunch and a sales pitch.

Astrid retired from the company in 1987, receiving the MUSE Business Woman of the Year Award. She served on the Boards of California Medical Foundation and the Southwestern University School of Law. She was also a Regent for California Lutheran University.

Astrid passed away in 2014.

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