In Memoriam: William Zellerbach, SI's first regent chairman
Posted 02/12/2017 12:29PM

William Zellerbach, the first chair of SI's first Board of Regents, died Feb. 4.

Here is an excerpt from Spiritus Magis: 150 Years of St. Ignatius College Preparatory:

Fr. Carlin assembled the first SI Board of Regents — men and women whose generosity and talent would prove invaluable to building a new and modern campus. They gathered for the first time in 1966 and reconvened regularly over the years since then to advise the school in its mission. (The first board included Joseph Alioto, Bernard Bannan, Mrs. Fred A. Beronio, Fr. Harry Carlin, SJ, Arthur P. Carroll, Thomas Carroll, John P. Cruden, Henry Doelger, Jr., John J. Ferdon, Charles Gould, John Henning, Fr. Leo Hyde, SJ, W. Dobson Kilduff, Mrs. August Koenig, Mrs. Jules Leonardini, Richard O. Linke, Fr. Edward McFadden, SJ, Felix McGinnis, George McKeon, George Millay, Francis J. Murphy (who helped oversee construction of the new campus), Thomas J. Murtagh, Hugh O'Donnell, Daniel O'Hara, Charles Paganini, Frank Paganini, Charles Quarré, James Rudden, Vincent Sullivan, Al Wilsey, and chairman William Zellerbach.)

Here is Mr. Zellerbach's obituary:

William J. Zellerbach

William J. Zellerbach died peacefully at home on February 5, 2017. Born on September 15, 1920, into a prominent San Francisco family, he was a man of enormous humility, generosity, and goodwill who valued others' humanity and integrity rather than their social or economic position. The well-being of others was prominent in his life, and he gave in many ways to organizations and individuals. Bill joined the U.S. Navy after graduating from the University of Pennsylvania to serve as a lieutenant after World War II broke out. Refusing an opportunity to be posted stateside, he served in a Navy beach battalion and saw combat action in North Africa, Sicily, Italy and the South Pacific. After the war, he worked for Crown Zellerbach Corporation, one of the then-largest paper manufacturers in North America that had grown from a small business operating out of a horse-drawn wagon started in San Francisco by his German Jewish immigrant great-grandfather. He served for many years as President of the Zellerbach Paper Company. He was instrumental in establishing a Boys Club in Hunters Point in 1959, and he was appointed by President Johnson to serve on his advisory committee for the Agency for International Development. As long-term Chairman of the Zellerbach Family Foundation, he was instrumental in shifting the Foundation's focus from bricks and mortar to services for the disadvantaged – especially immigrants and refugees and disadvantaged youth– as well as community arts.

Bill played golf and attended 49ers games well into his 90's (taking the bus to and from the games). He owned race horses for many years, an outgrowth of a promise he made to a subordinate when both were under heavy German fire on the beach at Salerno. The man dreamed of being a horse trainer and Bill told him that if they both survived and the man obtained a veterinary degree, Bill would back him. Years after the war the man reappeared after attending veterinary school, and Bill then entered the horse racing business. His most successful horse was named after his granddaughter.

Bill was devoted to his family and for over 70 years was the loving husband of Margery Haber Zellerbach, who predeceased him in September 2016. He is survived by his four children John Zellerbach (Mary Ellen), Thomas Zellerbach (Amy), Charles Zellerbach (Patricia), and Nancy Zellerbach Boschwitz (David); his grandchildren Joseph Zellerbach, Elizabeth Zellerbach Ruffer (Todd), Jennifer Zellerbach O'Connor, Will Zellerbach, Hilary Z. Reek (Terry), Emily Boschwitz, and Elliot Boschwitz, and two great-grandchildren Amaya and Tyler. He will be missed very much by his family and those whose lives he touched.

The family wishes to extend its heartfelt thanks to the compassionate individuals who cared for Bill prior to his passing. In lieu of flowers, donations should be made to the charity of one's choice . Private services will be held.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Feb. 7 to Feb. 12, 2017

St. Ignatius College Preparatory

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