Jack Blair Anderson of Piedmont and St. Helena passed away on January 5, 2018 after a short illness. He was 86.
Jack was an exceptionally kind and generous family man, a passionate outdoorsman and a successful and respected real estate professional. Until the end, he lived his life on his own humble terms, enjoying most the love of his wife, Diane, with whom he was married 61 years. Jack also drove himself everyday to his Emeryville office overlooking San Francisco Bay until mid November.
A proud son of the East Bay and a lifelong Piedmont resident, Jack was born May 2, 1931 at Peralta Hospital in Oakland to C. Peter Anderson and Viola Ellsworth Anderson.
As a boy, Jack would ride his horse, Bonnie, in the Oakland hills. He was educated at Wildwood Elementary School and a member of the Piedmont High School Class of 1949 where he played varsity basketball and was president of the Rigma social service club. It was at Piedmont High where Jack met his future wife, Diane Paulhamus.
Jack started UC Berkeley in the fall of 1949 where he was a member of the Phi Delta Theta fraternity. His studies were interrupted by the Korean War and his call up from the National Guard to active U.S. Army duty, where he was stationed at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo. Following his service, Jack returned to Cal and graduated in 1955.
Jack and Diane were married in 1956 and started a family shortly thereafter. They have three children: Ellin, John and Michael.
Immediately after Cal, Jack started his real estate career at the Marble Mortgage Company. In 1960, Jack and older brother E. P. “Pete” Anderson joined The Draper Companies where they learned the shopping center business. There, the Andersons worked on development of the Northgate Mall in San Rafael and the Del Monte Shopping Center in Monterey.
Jack and Pete left Draper in 1966 to form Commercial Real Estate Service (CRES), which specializes in shopping center development, leasing and management. They were located on California Street in downtown San Francisco for many years until relocating to Emeryville following the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake. At CRES, Jack’s always calm demeanor and subtle humor complemented Pete’s somewhat more colorful personality, resulting in a particularly successful 50-year partnership.
Notable CRES developments include the Serra Shopping Center in Colma, the Crossroads in Carmel and the initial phase of the Gilroy Outlets in Gilroy. CRES continues as a family business managed by Jack’s children and nieces.
Few things made Jack happier than his time outdoors. An avid duck and bird hunter, Jack was founder, El Jefe and President for Life of the SPRIGATEAL Duck Club in the Suisun Marsh. He also enjoyed taking short rides on smooth roads south of town to hunt dove in the Sonoran Desert near Alamos, Mexico.
For nearly 40 years Jack most looked forward to the family salmon fishing trips he organized to Rivers Inlet, British Columbia. With his frustratingly deliberate fishing style, Jack showed his much younger colleagues how it was done, regularly landing 50-pound king salmon well into his eighties.
Jack’s St. Helena vegetable garden was a source of immense pride, the bounty of which he shared with his many friends and family. For Jack, there was no better way to cap off a day outside or with family than with a Bombay Gibson with a twist, in a stemmed glass.
He was predeceased by his older brother, Pete Anderson and his daughter-in-law Jill Waggener Anderson.
In addition to his wife, Diane, Jack is survived by his sister Ellin Firth, also of Piedmont; his children Ellin Anderson Purdom (Ned), John Blair Anderson (Liz) and Michael Dwight Anderson; and his grandchildren Ted and Charlie Purdom and Jack and Caroline Anderson. He is also survived by his nieces Catherine Hughes and Elizabeth Hughes Simonetti (Paul) and his grand niece and nephew, Jane and Peter Simonetti.
A private family celebration of Jack’s life is planned.
In lieu of flowers, the family suggests a donation in memory of Jack to a charity of your choice.