William Louis Larkins
William Louis Larkins passed away peacefully at his home in San Rafael on October 7, 2016, at the age of 91. He was born in San Francisco on August 11, 1925 to Allan and Alberta Larkins. Bill and his twin brother, Ken, were the third and fourth of their five children. Bill graduated from Lowell High School in 1943 and immediately joined the Marine Corps. Through the V-12 officer training program, Bill attended the University of Washington. After the War, he completed his college education at the University of San Francisco, graduating in 1948.
Through USF and Lone Mountain social circles, Bill met Barbara Joan Zaro of San Bruno, who taught elementary school in San Francisco after her college graduation. They married in February of 1954 and moved to Kentfield at the end of that year. Through sunny summers and pounding winter rains they raised four children. Bill and Barbara lived on Evergreen Drive in Kent Woodlands for 50 years. In 2005 they moved to Villa Marin in San Rafael.
With his life-long business partner, twin brother Ken, Bill continued a tradition of the Larkins family in the transportation business in San Francisco that began in the early 1860's with an earlier William Larkins. In 1954 Bill and Ken bought a tire store on So. Van Ness Avenue, which they operated until they retired in 1986. Though they lacked the purchasing power of the larger tire chains, their business thrived because of their mutual commitment to providing good value and exceptional service to their very loyal customers. The tire shop remains in business and still bears the Larkins Brothers name.
Bill loved hiking, whether at Lake Tahoe where the family had a cabin, or on the slopes of Mt. Tam. All of his children inherited his love of the great outdoors. Beginning in their 40's, Bill and Barbara traveled extensively, visiting Australia, Hong Kong, South America, Mexico, Canada and many destinations in Europe. In his late 40's, Bill resumed playing tennis and enjoyed for another 30 years the sport he had played on San Francisco playgrounds while growing up. For decades, Bill and Barbara hosted countless dinner parties for their legion of friends. Some of those evenings were legendary, with singing around the piano until well past closing time. Bill kept the glasses full and put everyone at ease with his quick wit.
Hardworking, smart, funny, generous and humble, Bill was a man of deep Catholic faith and integrity. It is not an exaggeration to say that he was universally liked and admired. Bill was preceded in death by his twin brother John Kenneth, and by older siblings Pete (Allan Larkins, Jr.) and Sis (Alberta Stocks). He is survived by his wonderful wife of 62 years, Barbara, and by their four children, Bill Jr. (Portland), Joan Robertson, MD (Seattle), Paul (Denver) and Robert (Menlo Park). Bill was much loved by his ten grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, to whom he was "Papa." Bill is also survived by his younger sister, Sue Kunst.
Bill's life will be celebrated at a Mass at St. Anselm Church in Ross on Friday, October 28 at 10:00 a.m. In lieu of flowers, the family suggests donations to the St. Vincent de Paul Society.