All the News
Former Regent Chair William McDonnell '42 dies at 92
Posted 05/27/2017 02:26PM

William McDonnell '42, chair of SI's Board of Regents for 11 years — from 1980 through 1991 — died May 21 after a long illness. He was 92.

Mr. McDonnell proved instrumental to the success of the school's Genesis II campaign, which sought to increase SI's endowment in the 1980s after SI paid off construction costs on the Sunset District campus. His efforts helped the fund grow from $1.1 million to $4.5 million by 1985, with the proceeds providing much needed money for scholarships, facilities maintenance and faculty salaries.

Mr. McDonnell joined SI's Board of Regents in 1973, chaired then by the Hon. Eugene Lynch '49. When Fr. Sauer asked Mr. McDonnell to serve as chairman, he and regent Hugh O'Donnell tried to assess the school's financial situation — not an easy task given the accounting practices at the time.

Mr. McDonnell encouraged the business office to adopt modern accounting procedures, and Michael Silvestri '67 was made business manager in 1985.

He then worked with Fr. Sauer to bring people to the board who had a variety of talents that could serve the school over the years including Bill McInerney, a talented lawyer; Paul Hazen, president of Wells Fargo Bank; and Martin D. "Pete" Murphy, senior partner of Tobin & Tobin, who would succeed McDonnell as chairman. (Mr. Murphy predeceased Mr. McDonnell, as he passed away Feb. 8 this year.)

Mr. McDonnell's relationship with Tarantino's started in 1958 when he partnered with Gene McAteer, who opened the Fisherman's Wharf restaurant in 1946. A year later, Mr. McDonnelll opened The Spinnaker in 1959 in Sausalito. Both restaurants are now managed by his son, Tim.

Below is the obituary published today in the San Francisco Chronicle.

William Edward McDonnell

A lifelong San Franciscan who devoted his life to the service of others, William (Bill) E. McDonnell passed away peacefully at his home in San Francisco on May 20, 2017. He was first and foremost a family man, a loving husband to his wife of 68 years, Theresa (nee Frizzie), and cherished father to his seven children. He leaves behind a legacy full of warm family memories, successful businesses, and a history of civic and community engagement that improved the city of San Francisco and demonstrated a passion for health and education.

Bill was born to Irish immigrants Michael and Elizabeth Moran McDonnell on September 22, 1924, the only son and youngest of four children (including the late Sr. Mary Geraldine McDonnell, S.M., Patricia and Betty). A resident of San Francisco from birth, Bill was educated within the city limits from grade school to St. Ignatius High School on Stanyan Street through college, where he graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of San Francisco.

His history of service began in the U.S. Navy Air Corps during World War II and extended into a successful business career in the restaurant industry that started in the 1950s. Along with the late State Senator J Eugene McAteer, Bill ran Tarantino's Restaurant on Fisherman's Wharf, and later expanded operations in 1960, building the Spinnaker Restaurant in Sausalito. Bill's son Tim joined the business in 1976, and they operated both restaurants together for more than 40 years.

Bill's civic service began in the 1960s, when he became the foreman of the San Francisco Grand Jury. During the tenure of the late Mayor Joseph L. Alioto, he served as president of the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission and as the first president of the San Francisco Airport Commission. He was honored for his service with the naming of McDonnell Road at San Francisco Airport. In 1977, he was selected as a Civilian Aide to the U.S. Secretary of the Army, a post he held until 1983.

He was also deeply engaged in the business and not-for-profit community, serving in leadership roles with the San Francisco Visitors and Conventions Bureau, San Francisco Chamber of Commerce, Hanna Boys Center, Blue Shield of California, Seton Medical Center and the San Francisco Heart Institute. He was a member of the Olympic Club for 55 years, where he cherished his regular golf outings with his friends Don Gordon, Vince Pelfini, Charlie Andrews and Fr. John LoSchiavo.

Bill believed in the power of education, and gave his time to the University of San Francisco and St. Ignatius College Preparatory. He served as chair of the SI Board of Regents for many years and was instrumental in the school's decision to open its doors to both men and women. To honor his service to St. Ignatius, San Francisco and the community, Bill received the Christ the King Award in 1990, the highest award the school can bestow upon an alumnus.

Bill is lovingly remembered by his family, including Theresa, who still lives in the City, and their children: Suzanne (Lou), Bill, Jr. (Susan), Tim (Lori), Debbie (John), Ginny (Mike), Beth (Perry), and Tom. He will always be treasured by his beloved grandchildren: Bryan, Daniel, and Denise Giraudo; Madeline and Megan McDonnell; Michael, Michelle, and Paul McDonnell; Timothy, Caitlin, and Evan Brown; Therese, Michael, and Caroline Martin; Lauren and Rachel McDonnell. The entire family spent memorable vacations in Aptos and Napa (Silverado), California that fueled the belief that family is the core of a healthy, happy life.

Theresa and the family wish to thank the many compassionate individuals who cared for Bill prior to his passing.

A celebration of Bill's life will be held on June 2 at 11 a.m. with a Funeral Mass at St. Brendan's Catholic Church, 29 Rockaway Avenue, San Francisco, CA 94127. The Committal will be held privately at Golden Gate National Cemetery at the family's request. Donations in Bill's memory may be made to St. Ignatius College Preparatory or Hanna Boys Center, although any gift to a charitable organization in Bill's name will honor the family as they celebrate the gift that was his presence in their lives. - See more at: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/sfgate/obituary.a...

AMDG
St. Ignatius College Preparatory

Courage to Lead; Passion to Serve

2001 37th Avenue San Francisco, CA 94116
(415) 731-7500
powered by finalsite