John Spencer French
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Apr. 16, 1931 - Jun. 27, 2014
John passed away peacefully on June 27, 2014 at age 83, with his family and his loving wife Kathy of 30 years by his side. A loving and generous man, John will remain in the hearts of all who knew him.
John had a quick wit and a wonderful sense of humor that filled the room with laughter. He loved playing sports of all kinds, and was known for his great golf and tennis games. A devoted father, John took tremendous pleasure in coaching his sons' teams. John and his wife Kathy were the loves of each other's lives, sharing a life filled with family, friends, and adventures. John loved to plan trips, becoming a world traveler in his last decades.
John was born to Gladys and George French in Hartford, Connecticut on April 16,1931. He joined the Army and served his country in the Korean War. Returning home after the war, he graduated from the University of Connecticut.
John had a long and distinguished career, ultimately moving to California in 1969 when the Kaiser-Aetna Organization was formed. In 1979, John was appointed President of Grubb and Ellis Property Services, Inc. and became a member of its Board of Directors. In the early eighties, John started French Shepherd, a property development and investment partnership that continued through 2003. During that time, John also formed his own John S. French Company, which he continued until his retirement.
John is survived by his devoted wife Kathy, three sons David French (Molly), Bill French (Shelby), and John French (Cathy), and his two step children Jeff Temer (Ingrid) and Janet Hardiman (Roy). He was Papa to his eleven grandchildren, William French, Sarah French, Carole French, Annelise Temer, Astrid Temer, Will Scott, Lauren Scott, Brian Scott, Robert Scott, Elena Hardiman and Riley Hardiman. He is also survived by three half sisters, Bref French, Janet Ricker, and Carol Fowler, and several sister and brother-in-laws and numerous nieces and nephews.
A special thank you to the caregivers at Chateau III in Pleasant Hill and the Vitas Hospice nurses for the wonderful care that they provided to John.
A memorial service will be held on July 9 at 1:30 PM. at St. Stephen's Episcopal Church at 66 St Stephens Road, Orinda. A celebration of life to follow at 2:30 at Orinda Country Club.
Hull's Walnut Creek Chapel
1139 Saranap Avenue Walnut Creek, CA 94595
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on July 6, 2014