John Gregson
1931 - 2020
{ "" }
Share John's life story with friends and family
Send an Email
Or Copy this URL to Share
John Borman Gregson

Died peacefully at home after a long illness, age 88. A lifelong, devout Roman Catholic, John B. left this world on the morning of June 25.

John B. was born in Burnley, Lancashire (England) on July 3, 1931. Following his service in the British Army (REME) in Gibraltar during the Korean War, he moved to San Francisco (via Kitimat, BC, Canada), arriving in 1956.

In San Francisco he met and married Lourdes Quimbo, who herself had immigrated to S.F. from Manila, Philippines.

They settled in San Francisco's Sunset District, where they raised (and are survived by) four children: John Michael (Irene), Robert (Eileen), Anne-Marie (Frank), and Paul. He is also survived by his five grandchildren: Timothy, Kelsey, Emily, Thomas, Ainsley; his great-grandson Kane; and his sister Margaret Abusief. Many other relatives, both in S.F. and abroad, are too numerous to list.

John B. worked as a sheet metal worker for various shops, joining Local 104 upon his arrival in S.F. in 1956. But his greatest joy was working for the City & County of San Francisco (DPW)—the city that he loved so much. He eventually rose to Assistant Deputy Director of Public Works, and retired in June 1994. He continued teaching sheet metal workers for many years afterwards at AFL-CIO Local 104.

John B. was dedicated and sedulous in everything he undertook: from soccer coaching in the 1960's–70's; volunteerism; his many marathons (all accomplished after the age of 50); and to his beloved South End Rowing Club.

But his most important quality was his love for others: his consistent search for the hidden value of every person, and his lifelong quest to bring people back from the brink—however they may be: unloved, downtrodden, or misunderstood. He had an undying love for them, and he lived what he spoke.

An ideal role model for everyone who knew this.

Visitation will be held at Duggan's Serra Mortuary with the Funeral Mass and interment at Holy Cross Cemetery to follow at a later date.

To Plant Memorial Trees in memory, please visit our Sympathy Store.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jun. 27 to Jun. 28, 2020.
No memorial events are currently scheduled. To offer your sympathy during this difficult time, you can now have memorial trees planted in a National Forest in memory of your loved one.
Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Duggan's Serra Mortuary
Not sure what to say?
View Printed Guest Book
20 entries
July 12, 2020
May the soul of John Borman Gregson Rest In Eternal Peace. May the angels lead him to paradise. Amen
Frank and Thelma Domingo
July 4, 2020
Napkin rings with union labels and hammered copper tray made by John.<br />We cannot thank you enough. <br />
John B. Gregson, and his wonderful wife Lourdes, are so good and positive.
I first met John during a sheet metal apprentice contest, then as a fellow instructor, and on from there....
As a sheet metal worker, after completing a 7 year sheet metal apprenticeship in Britain, which included helping to form panels into Rolls Royce car fenders, he was stationed in Gibraltar for the British military. There, he made a lead sheet model of the Rock of Gibraltar for the Queen. Later, John was welding aluminum using oxy-acetylene in Canada while others did not know it was possible, and then made his way to San Francisco, where he met Lourdes. As a sheet metal worker working for the City of SF, he eventually took lead of the Department of Public Works. Johns sheet metal skills extended beyond the common, into very artistic work. He was involved with his union, Sheet Metal Local 104, from parades to strikes. He made center pieces for the 100th year anniversary, repaired one of the zinc eagles which originally rested atop the union hall on Guerrero St., hammered out copper sinks and made various trophies, and restored the windmill on the west end of Golden Gate Park. As a teacher, John shared his love for the trade as well as his skills and example.
John respected everyone. He loved his family, co-workers, students, members, staff, everyone. It was not uncommon for him to stop by the apprenticeship office with bread rolls for our staff, tell a few stories and make sure everything was ok.
Johns attitude is an inspiration to athletics, as well, having coached soccer teams, run several marathons, and swimming to Alcatraz. He inspired me to explore the Dipsea.
I am inspired every time I think of John, and see no reason to stop.
Frank Cuneo
July 4, 2020
I loved Mr. Gregson, father of my dear friend John Gregson. He was true blue with a heart of goal, a great story teller, a hard, talented worker, and a lover of life. He and Mrs. Gregson raised a wonderful boisterous family. I felt I was a part of the family on the numerous times I experienced his hospitality on my visits to SF.
Aloha Nui Mr. Gregson, thanks for being such an inspiration and role model for me.
John Farmer
July 2, 2020
Mr Gregson was a great coach and a wonderful man. May God bless his soul and the Gregson family.
Frank O'Neill
July 2, 2020
I'm a niece,the daughter of Nenita's older sister.
I live in the Philippines and my vists tot he States were not that often -- but for sure I would pass by SFO and visit with the family. Uncle John was always so warm and accomodating -- he always had something for me before going home -- sometimes a book, as set of stampitas, a memento from his last travel and things like that --- just so I wouldn't go home empty handed. That how sweet and loving an uncle he was. And I love how he took care of his wife, my Tita Nenita.... a husband like him was her blessing. God bless you, Uncle John--- now you are together with you wife once more --- and in the paradise of our Lord. I hope you meet up with Pat. and you guys can say a prayer for us left behind in the troubled word.
Peggy Vera
July 2, 2020
Your Father was a warm,Loving person with the Heart of a Saint.He Always was Gracious and took the time to stop & talk to you.He always had a tell you that would leave you Smiling.Your Father was Loved by Everyone.He will be Forever in Our Hearts.❤
Gene Wasak
July 1, 2020
I had the good fortune to enjoy John's company for many years at his (and my) beloved South End Rowing Club. He was ever the gentleman, always gracious, funny as hell, and an amazing athlete, running one marathon after another. His was a life well lived.
Ned Viall
June 30, 2020
Uncle John felt like he was gift from the Uncle-making gods and sent to Earth to be the Perfect Uncle to nephews, nieces (and this grand niece). He swims the Bay all the way to Alcatraz! He runs marathons in the tropical heat of Manila! He always referred to us a lass (but there was only one capital L Lass, and that's Tita Nenita!). I'll always treasure the day I got to spend the day with him in 2014 or 2015, and he gave me an awesome Uncle John experience of photos and stories. I'm attaching a photo of Uncle John at the memorial for Tita Nenita, with his one final gift made with his talent for sheet metal. The rose was would rest with Tita Nenita.
Karen Vera
June 29, 2020
As a Past-President I always found John Gregson was very generous with his time and talents when it came to helping the South End Rowing Club. There were many projects he took on to help improve the club almost without being asked. He was a fine man, easy to talk with and a gentle sense of humor. We all will miss him at the South End Rowing Club.
Bill Wygant
June 29, 2020
John was kind, skilled, funny, tenacious, and much more. He
had a lasting positive affect on this world. His memory will live on. I meet him at the South End Rowing Club and occasionally went to his shop to work on a project. He was always patient. He was a great example, Ill try to be more like John Gregson.
Andrew Stock
June 28, 2020
John Gregson with Pat Cunneen at the Pamakid Runners Rites of Spring Run, presenting the Dingwall Award cup that John made.
John was a dear friend for many years. I met him through the Pamakid Runners Club. He was a devoted member and loved to run. John contributed much to the San Francisco Marathon early days and to the Pamakid Runners. He will be greatly missed by all of us in the club. RIP dear friend.
Phyllis Nabhan
June 28, 2020
John a true inspiring athlete, especially when it came to swimming in the bay or running the San Francisco marathons, but also a passionate craftsman.
Roberto Alvarenga
June 28, 2020
John, an inspiring athlete, especially when it came to swimming in the bay or running the San Francisco Marathons; but also, a passionate craftsman.
Roberto Alvarenga
June 28, 2020
John was an amazing PAMAKID and lived his life representing the BEST VALUES we all hope to attain. He is now with my wife Carol, up where they can watch over us all. Sporting new wings to get around faster.
Michael J. Taheny
June 28, 2020
Tito John, scholar, poet, eloquent storyteller with the memory of a walking encyclopedia! Home at last with his Lass. God speed, dear uncle. The next adventure promises to be eternally joyful. Until we meet again. To my dear cousins, nephews and nieces, I hold you all close to my distant heart during this terrible time of loss. All my love, Marivic and tribe
Mari Lalana
June 28, 2020
Love every moment shared with you and your family in San Francisco with Mila.
You are now in your Eternal life with and plsm pray for us.
Cora Rosales Soriano
June 28, 2020
Dear Family. So very sorry to learn of Johns passing. He was a longtime member of the Pamakid running club and that is where my wife Sandy and I met John. He was a great guy, a great runner and so easy to talk to. We used to see John sometimes at Luckys grocery shopping. We would reminisce about the good times we had years ago. May his memory be a blessing.
Ed Baumgarten
June 28, 2020
My deepest condolences to the family .John was a hard working , sweet, Craftsman one of the best, gentleman, Love DPW Sheet Metal Shop, and an inspiration to all who work around him. My first relay run was organized by John. Rest In Peace.
William Cabrera (Electric Shop General Forman)
June 28, 2020
Rob, my condolences to you and your Family. Your Dad was a fine man, coach and mentor to many of us at St. Gabriels. God bless.
JOHN Dillon
June 28, 2020
John was a very special guy and I was fortunate to be his friend.
Patrick F. Cunneen
Invite others to add memories
Share to let others add their own memories and condolences