Stephen Edward Block
Mar 16, 1936 - Jan 18, 2021
Stephen Edward Block, age 84, died peacefully in his sleep on January 18, 2021, with Dale, his wife of fifty years, by his side. Stephen was a life-long East Bay resident and a long time East Bay real estate developer.
Born in Oakland on March 16, 1936 to George and Gladys Block, he attended Crocker Highlands elementary and Piedmont High School before graduating from the University of California, Berkeley, with a Bachelor of Science degree in Civil Engineering. While at Cal Stephen joined his older brother George as a member of the Zeta Beta Tau fraternity and was also a member of the United States Army Reserve Officer Training Corps. After graduating, he served as an officer in the Army's Counterintelligence Corps. Blessed with an impish sense of humor, while in the service he was known for using the Presidio parade ground as a driving range.
In 1970, Stephen married Dale Block (née Forrest), and in 1972 they welcomed their only son Adam. As his family grew, Stephen invested his energies in his real estate business as well. Over the years he developed a range of office, industrial, and residential projects, including Moraga Country Club, Kelton Court, and a variety of build-to-suit warehouses. Stephen's most recent project was centro1331 — Berkeley's first LEED-certified sustainable office building.
Always community-minded, while growing his real estate business Stephen also served as President of the East Bay chapter of Associated Home Builders, as a member of the finance committee of the Jewish Federation, and as a community representative on the team that created the West Berkeley Plan. With his family, Stephen was a generous supporter of the Oakland Museum of California, Bay Area Tumor Institute, the Cancer League, and Head-Royce School.
A true renaissance man with a zest for life, Stephen was well known for his enthusiastic pursuit of diverse interests, whether collecting antiques, model trains, or Japanese stamps — or playing bridge, golf, or basketball. But for a man of many hobbies, his greatest love by far was collecting, restoring, touring, and racing vintage European automobiles. Recognized in the community for his deep knowledge of 1950s and 1960s sports cars, he took particular pleasure in serving as Class Host at the Pebble Beach Concours d'Elegance, where he also showed many of his exotic cars over the years. Stephen was instrumental in the selection of Pegaso — a rare Spanish sports car from the 1950s — as the featured marque at the 1994 Pebble Beach event, and helped bring together at the show a unique collection of twelve Pegasos from all over the world.
An avid golfer and bridge player, Stephen was a member of the Concordia Club of San Francisco, Lake Merced Golf and Country Club, Claremont Country Club, and was a developer and founder of the Moraga Country Club.
Stephen gave generously of his time and experience; he took particular interest in young entrepreneurs in whom he recognized kindred dealmaking spirits, and was a mentor to many. A "family first" gentleman who derived great pleasure from the achievements of his wife, son, and daughter-in-law Eve, Stephen was always excited to hear about a recent success or dive deeply into a thorny problem. He also maintained an abiding interest in his niece and nephews Audrey, Greg, and Jerald Block and their families, nephew Anthony Bernard, his wife Tara and their children Gabriel and Emilia, and nephew David Forrest (Carrie) and great nephew Ethan.
The family wishes to acknowledge with deep appreciation the expressions of love, concern, and kindness shown to them in this time of bereavement. A life tribute to Stephen will be held at a later date.
Donations in Stephen Block's memory may be made to the Bay Area Tumor Institute (400 30th St., Suite 301, Oakland CA 94609) or to The Michael J. Fox Foundation