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 www.halstedngray.com
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Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Sep. 17 to Sep. 18, 2016.