Hamilton "Whit" Budge
Devoted husband, father, friend, and community volunteer, died in Eugene, Oregon, on August 27, 2012, of age related causes.
Whit was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, on June 18, 1928, to Alexander and Ruth Budge. He attended Punahou School until 1941, when the attack on Pearl Harbor forced his family to move to the mainland. He graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts in 1946.
He attended Stanford University where he was a tackle on the football team, and in 1950, graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics/Political Science.
On February 24, 1951, he married Elaine Walton in San Francisco. Shortly after spending their honeymoon at the Riverside Lodge on the McKenzie River, he joined the U.S. Navy. He served on the USS Mason in the Sea of Japan during the Korean War where he used his extraordinary swimming skills to rescue pilots from downed planes.
Whit attended Cornell Law School in Ithaca, New York, and after graduation in 1955, was hired as an associate by the firm of Brobeck, Phleger, and Harrison in San Francisco. He became a partner in 1961 and, prior to his retirement in 1989, was managing partner.
In 1954, Whit and Elaine had a son Whit, Jr., now married to Julia Budge, and living in Eugene, Oregon. A year later they had a daughter, Nancy, now living in Boise, Idaho with Gay Whitesides, and in 1959 they had a second daughter, Sydney, now married to Jeff Bissett and living in Lake Oswego, Oregon.
Elaine died on April 10, 2000, in San Mateo, California. Whit married Claudia Waggoner on June 10, 2001, and they moved to Eugene, Oregon, to be closer to his family, especially his four grandchildren, Megan Budge, Chase Bissett, and Whit Bissett all now living in Eugene, and Molly Budge, now living in San Luis Obispo, California.
While living in the San Francisco Bay Area, Whit volunteered his time to numerous organizations, many of them dedicated to the study and preservation of nature. He served for many years on the Board of Trustees of the California Academy of Science, known worldwide as a leader in the study of natural history and curator of the aquarium, planetarium, and museum in Golden Gate Park. He also served as a Director of the American Red Cross Bay Area, and a member of the Distribution Committee of The San Francisco Foundation.
Whit was an avid fly fisherman and truly loved family vacations in Northern California and Oregon in search of trout and steelhead, particularly camping trips and later to cabins he, friends and relatives owned in the Fall River Valley. He also enjoyed bird hunting, and was rarely seen without a Labrador Retriever at his side.
Above all of his accomplishments, Whit will be remembered for his devotion to family and friends. After moving to Oregon, he became an active supporter of his grandchildren in all of their educational and athletic endeavors.
A private Celebration of Life will be held in the San Francisco Bay Area. The family requests that, in lieu of flowers, contributions be made in Whit's memory to the California Academy of Science, Development Department, 55 Music Concourse Drive, Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, CA 94118 (www.calacademy.org)
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Sept. 2, 2012