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Mark Owen Kasanin

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Photo Mark Owen Kasanin 1929 - 2007 Mark Kasanin died peacefully on May 18, 2007, after a brief illness. He was born in Boston, MA, the son of Dr. and Mrs. Jacob Kasanin. He moved to San Francisco with his family when he was very young. He graduated from Grant Grammar School and Lowell High School. He earned his undergraduate degree from Stanford University. After graduating from Yale Law School in 1954, he served with the US Navy during the Korean War, where he was stationed in Japan. On his return to San Francisco in 1957, Mr. Kasanin joined the McCutchen Law Firm (now Bingham McCutchen) where he worked until the end of his life. He became a partner there in 1967. While at McCutchen, he specialized in maritime law. He had a great love of boats and the sea, and grew up sailing and racing on San Francisco Bay. His practice also included liability and toxic tort cases. Considered by all as a generous and warm-hearted man behind an initial intimidating demeanor, Mr. Kasanin was well known for mentoring young attorneys and introducing clients to other lawyers in the firm. He was named by Woodward/White as one of the best lawyers in America. Mr. Kasanin was a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, and in 1992, he was appointed by Chief Justice William Rehnquist to the Federal Civil Rules Advisory Committee, where he served for 10 years. He served as counsel to the Board of the Maritime Museum for many years. He was a member of the Maritime Law Association, and at his death was the chairman of the Technical Advisory Committee of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Transit Authority. In 1960 he married the former Anne Wimbish of Louisville, KY. They lived in an ark on Belvedere Cove before moving into their home on Corinthian Island in 1963. They have two sons, Marc, born in 1965, and James, born in 1970. They also have a grandchild, Jacob Perry Kasanin, born in 2004. The Kasanins loved to travel. In 1962, Mr. Kasanin left the McCutchen firm, and they traveled throughout Europe for a year. On his return to San Francisco, he returned to McCutchen. In 1980 he took advantage of the firm's sabbatical program, and chartering a barge, the St. George, sailed with his family through the canals and rivers of France from the Pont Neuf in Paris to Seurre sur Sonne, a journey of six weeks. He often combined his business trips to Europe and the Far East with vacation time in those areas. In the fall of 2006, the Kasanins had their last travel adventure, sailing on the Royal Clipper from Lisbon to Barbados. Locally, Mr. Kasanin served on the Belvedere Planning Commission, the Belvedere Foundation and the Historic Preservation Committee. He was an active member of the Corinthian Island Association (aka the CIA) until its demise in the 1970s. He was a member of the Tiburon Peninsula Club and the San Francisco Yacht Club. Mr. Kasanin loved sitting on the deck of his home on Corinthian Island reading in the sun. He also enjoyed riding his bicycle around the Tiburon Peninsula and Belvedere, where he was a familiar figure to all. In addition to his immediate family, Mr. Kasanin is survived by his sister Elizabeth Hand of Ithaca, NY; and eight nieces and nephews. Private services have been held. Donations in his memory may be made to Hospice by the Bay, 17 E. Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur, CA 94939, or the SF Maritime National Historical Park Association, P.O. Box 470310, SF, CA 94147.
Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Oct. 7, 2007
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