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Gloria M. Root

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Photo Gloria M. Root A leader in environmental planning and civic affairs, has succumbed to cancer after a courageous fight at the age of 58. Born in Chicago and raised in Flossmoor, Illinois, Gloria scored an academic "double double" receiving both a bachelor of fine arts and a bachelor of architecture from the Rhode Island School of Design. She then came west after gaining admission to UC Berkeley's School of Environmental Design, where she received a masters in architecture and a masters in city planning. Gloria established her firm, Planning Analysis & Development, in SF in 1980 which she headed until 1998 when she moved to New York. Gloria directed her staff on numerous public and private project environmental assessments and land use plans throughout Northern California, for which she was honored by the Association of Environmental Professionals. Gloria married Richard Dobson in 1984 and became a mom to Francesca in 1986. The marriage ended in divorce. While in New York, Gloria managed the Strategic Planning Services division of Skidmore Owings & Merrill as well as several large scale developments. Gloria returned to her home in San Francisco in 2002 to become project manager of Auberge Resorts followed by a senior position with RBF Consulting. Her community service activities included chairing the Mayor's Citizen Reuse Committee for Treasure Island, and participating on the Mayor's Committee for Presidio Planning, the Board of Supervisor's Doyle Drive Task Force and the Caltrans Project Design Team. From 1990 to 1998 she was a member of the Board of Directors of San Francisco Planning and Urban Research (SPUR) where she held positions on the Executive Committee and Advisory Committee. She was also active in the Neighborhood Association for Presidio Planning and the Presidio Heights Association of Neighbors. A dedicated and determined supporter of good government, Gloria wrote op ed pieces, edited community newsletters, helped organize conferences, and appeared on panels and talk shows. When not grappling with environmental and growth issues, Gloria was both an avid fan of professional football and an aficionado of the performing and cinematic arts. She was a world traveler, which contributed to her distinctive savoir faire. Long before it became fashionable, Gloria deserved to be called a "foodie" wowing her chums with her culinary delights. Dancer, skier, runner, Gloria was gifted with an exceptional physical grace. Of all her accomplishments, however, the power of Gloria's mind was the most remarkable. Few possessed her ability to probe and debate current events with such intellectual horsepower and insight. When Gloria's flame burned, it burned bright. Gloria is survived by her beloved daughter, Francesca Root-Dobson; father, Raymond Root Sr.; elder brother, Ray Root Jr.; elder sister, Marcellina Heineman; younger sister, Deborah Slaney; and four nieces, Lilly Weberg, Nina Stone, Lise Heineman and Kelli Heineman. Her mother, Geraldine Root, predeceased her. Friends and associates are invited to a Memorial Service celebrating Gloria's life to be held in the Presidio at 3:00 p.m., Wednesday, February 1, 2005, in the Ventana Room of the Golden Gate Club, 135 Fisher Loop Drive, Presidio, SF. In lieu of flowers, friends may wish to send a donation in her honor to SPUR, 312 Sutter Street, Suite 500, SF, CA 94108.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Jan. 22, 2006
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