Richard Spalding
1950 - 2021
Richard Coxe Spalding
December 16, 1950 - April 11, 2021
Richard Coxe Spalding, a lawyer, business executive, and longtime resident of San Francisco, died at home on April 11, 2021
Born in Greenwich, Connecticut in 1950, Mr. Spalding was the third of six children and grew up in a competitive and service-oriented family.
Known to his friends and family as Dick, he graduated from Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass., and from Harvard College where he was the head of the Porcellian Club. He received his law degree from Columbia Law School where he served on The Law Review.
In 1968, on his first night in San Francisco, Dick was brought to the Presbyterian Cotillion, a ball hosted to benefit the hospital and to introduce girls into San Francisco society. There he noticed a classmate from Andover and the girl he was dancing with. True to form, Dick crossed the dance floor and cut in to dance with Helen Martin, the start of a 53-year love affair. From that day on, dancing was one of their most cherished activities.
Appreciated for his keen intellect, sense of humor, and forthright nature, Dick worked for 14 years at Brobeck, Phleger & Harrison. He co-founded the law firm's Palo Alto practice, growing the office from two to more than 100 attorneys. Dick specialized in representing venture capital firms and biotechnology companies, including IDEC Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Gen Pro, Inc., and Xoma, Inc., among others.
Between 1991 and 1996, Dick was the head of West Coast investment banking for Alex. Brown and Sons and supervised the firm's Japan office. From 1997 to 1999, he was Vice President and the first Chief Financial Officer at Portal Software and oversaw the company's rapid expansion.
Dick also served as Chief Financial Officer of Fusion Medical Technologies, Founding Partner of Thomas Weisel Healthcare Venture Partners, and Managing Director at Kearny Venture Partners, a firm he co-founded. He was on the board of Aspire Public Schools where he supported the expansion of charter schools, particularly in the Los Angeles region.
Dick's commitment to his professional careers was only matched by his dedication to his family and children. He was kind, invested and loved spending time with his children. Despite working long hours, Dick was often spotted or heard on the sidelines of Charlie's tennis matches, Patrick's basketball games and Nini's soccer games. Aside from cheering for his children on the field, he was their greatest cheerleader off of it. He wanted nothing but their happiness and was always trying to help them achieve it. His grandchildren adored their "Jobu" and the slumber parties, trips to the parks and zoo always capped off with a delicious meal at the Balboa Cafe. Above all else, he will be remembered by his grandchildren as the legend who ate ice cream for breakfast on warm Maine mornings. Beyond his own family, Dick provided counsel to many young people. Whether advising on career changes, romantic entanglements or as a mentor for San Francisco Achievers, Dick was unendingly generous with his time and wisdom.
Equally at home in California and the East Coast, Dick loved nearly all games. He was a youthful, graceful, and towering figure on the tennis court, an ardent participant at the San Francisco Golf Club and a champion backgammon player several times over at The Pacific-Union Club.
Dick also enjoyed the performing arts, both as a patron and as a participant. His love of song and dance was well-known to his family. He performed memorably as Nathan Detroit in Guys and Dolls at the first-ever Town School show. He sang "You Gotta Have Heart" as part of the quartet in Damn Yankees and played Mayor George Shinn in The Music Man. His most memorable performance was when he learned to sing in Italian Andrea's Bocelli's Con Te Partirò as a surprise for Helen's sixtieth birthday.
Dick was a member of The San Francisco Golf Club, The Bohemian Club, The Pacific-Union Club and The Burlingame Country Club. He was known and loved by many friends and neighbors throughout the United States – from Sun Valley to Palm Beach to Prouts Neck, Maine. They remember him fondly for his endless curiosity, his ability to be truly present and his resonant laugh.
He is survived by his wife, Helen Martin Spalding; sons, Charles and Patrick Spalding, daughter, Nini Spalding, daughters-in-law Catherine Spalding and Emilie Spalding, brother, Gerald Spalding; sisters, Elizabeth Spalding Perry and Florence Spalding; and four grandchildren, Wellsley, Richard (Oliver), Paget, and Sawyer Spalding.
As a tribute to Dick's life the family would be grateful for gifts to the Frontotemporal Dementia Fund (B1556) at UCSF's Memory and Aging Center, made payable to UCSF Foundation, PO Box 45339, San Francisco, CA 941145-0339 or Elders Consult Foundation, 1633 Bayshore Highway, Suite 245, Burlingame, CA 94010
A service in his memory will be held in the fall.
Published by San Francisco Chronicle from Apr. 13 to Apr. 18, 2021.
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23 Entries
I am very sorry for your loss ..... will always remember Dick for his boyish charm and cheerfulness. ..... forthright and friendly in manner. Eager ! With love, Cenita
Cenita Fairbanks
October 18, 2021
Nancy and Sandy Robertson
May 16, 2021
Kathy Carver
May 15, 2021
I am so sorry to hear of Dick's passing at this time. I was just now trying to reach him on line after a life time of not seeing him. We were childhood friends in Greenwich, CT and went to school together at North Street School and Brunswick School. Dick was a great athlete even back then. I am glad to learn here so much about his life. I hope that he came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. My deepest condolences to his surviving family. God bless you all.
Robert Haymes
May 6, 2021
Sympathies and best wishes to the Spalding family. Dick was a wonderful guy and a great partner.
Patrick Kerins
April 29, 2021
I can still hear his laugh. My heart felt sympathy for the family with this huge loss which is a loss for all of us. So many happy memories of swimming in the ocean, tennis and dancing as teenagers. He is deeply missed.
Mary Hufty
April 20, 2021
I enjoyed Dick's company at the PU, BCC and playing backgammon with him. I am sorry that he was taken from us at such a young age. I hope that you take solace in that he left us with great memory of him.
jim callinan
April 20, 2021
I counted myself fortunate to have so fine a friend as this good man.
Timothy Ferris
April 20, 2021
May God continue to bless you and your family in this time of sorrow. Please except my condolences.
Simone Taylor
April 18, 2021
I am a neighbor of Mr. Spalding and I do remember seeing him on occasion over the many years we have lived on the block. My deepest sympathy to his family. May he be at peace. He seemed like a wonderful man. Sincerely, Tina Canepa
Tina canepa
April 17, 2021
Dear Dick was my escort at the SF Cotillion in 1975. I am one of many step brothers and sisters that basically grew up together after my mom, Bren Spalding married Dick’s father Charles Spalding. Dicky was a wonderful conversationalist and I will never forget his great laugh. He cared so much about his family and friends. We will very much miss him.
All my love to you dear Helen.
Elena Grant
April 15, 2021
Truly a fine Gentleman...Rest In Peace Mr. Spalding.
Eddie Ty
April 14, 2021
Alison and John Hawkins
April 14, 2021
I’m so sad to learn of Dick’s passing and am so thankful that my son’s marriage to Daphne Grayson allowed me to see Dick as the accomplished adult he became. My last sightings of him had been at Greenwich Country Day and Andover. He was a great guy in both periods. Keith Funston
Keith Funston
April 14, 2021
I remember Dick well from my Alex Brown days. I was a young banker and he was a warm, reliable mentor for me and others. He was not afraid to bring his humanity to the workplace and be his authentic self everyday. I do remember his wonderful laugh - smiling now as I remember! RIP
Anne Martin
April 14, 2021
The Barnaby Conrad family
April 14, 2021
Dickie was a great husband, father, father-in-law, and friend. He was a good listener, but he could always liven up a party. As a friend of 50-plus years, I will miss "Coach" greatly.
Barnaby Conrad III
April 14, 2021
linda mornell
April 14, 2021
With our love, Rick and Dana
April 14, 2021
Peggy and Tim
April 13, 2021
Arthur Rogers
April 13, 2021
I have so many fond memories of Dick it’s hard to pick out one that hasn’t already been mentioned. However one of my favorites was his Chicken song, OMG I could never get enough, he had me in hysterics from the onset with his flapping arms. And of course I adored his temptations “ My Girl” version with my brother at their mutual 25 Wedding Anniversary. What a fabulous incredible man. My heart goes out to his wonderful wife Helen and his adoring children and all of us who loved him so dearly. My prayers and love are with you always and forever. Kathy Fay
Kathy Fay
April 13, 2021
Dick was a dear friend, a singing partner at Ocher Point, a golfing partner in Newport and Maine, a trusted friend, and a really wonderful human being. I will miss him terribly, but will rejoice in the terrific times Edith and I had with Dick and Helen.
Hank Lowenstein
April 13, 2021
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