John Hirten
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John E. Hirten

John Edward Hirten, first Executive Director of the San Francisco Bay Area Planning and Urban Research Association (SPUR) and a lifelong champion of public transit, died on September 18. He was ninety years old.
Born in Brooklyn, NY, and raised on Long Island, Mr. Hirten served as a corporal with the U. S. Army's 66th Panther Division during World War II's Battle of the Bulge. After war's end, he stayed in Europe with the occupation forces until 1946. He later graduated from New Mexico State University with a degree in Public Administration.
He had a distinguished career as an advocate for city planning and public transportation, holding positions in San Francisco, San Diego, Tehran, Washington, DC, and elsewhere.
Tehran was also where he met his wife of 62 years, Mina Malaguti, an Italian singer who was performing with her band at the main hotel there. After a whirlwind courtship, despite a significant language barrier, they married in 1954 at a little church in Bologna, Italy, and moved back to the States, eventually to San Francisco.
A devoted father, Mr. Hirten is survived by his wife, three children, and eleven grandchildren. A Funeral Mass will be held on Thursday, September 22, 10:30 AM at Old St. Mary's Cathedral, 660 California St., SF
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Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Sep. 17 to Sep. 18, 2016.
MEMORIAL EVENTS
Sep
22
Funeral Mass
10:30a.m.
Old St. Mary's Cathedral
660 California St., San Francisco, CA
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I first met John when he came to New Mexico State, his alma mater to receive an award in the late 1970s and it was the beginning of a wonderful friendship. We had a common interest in transportation. He and Mina were wonderful to my then spouse Ree and my children when we traveled to DC en route to Europe on a sabbatical in 1979. John drove us to Baltimore to catch the ship to Rotterdam. When my son was killed in an automobile accident in 1983 in New Mexico John and Mina invited us to come to DC on a healing visit. We shared transportation interests and he encouraged by career. He and Mina invited my current wife Marilyn to wonderful meals at their San Francisco home on our visits there. I am honored to have had him as a friend and will always treasure my memory of he and Mina. Ron Sheck, Sylvania, Ohio
Ron Sheck
October 1, 2016
I was Assistant Executive Director for AIP when John was the Executive Director. I was always impressed with his devotion to members of AIP and the city planning profession. He was a good leader, inspiring and a lot of fun. Mina we will miss him and seeing you, that last time was in 2000 in NYC. Please accept our sincerest condolences.
Best regards,
Allan Hodges FAICP and Carol Hodges
Boston and Newport, RI
September 28, 2016
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