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Francis Lathrop Obituary – CA


Francis Pierce Lathrop Francis Pierce Lathrop, a native of Berkeley, passed away peacefully at his home in Palm Springs with his wife by his side on Thursday, December 16, 2004. Pierce was a well known general contractor in the San Francisco Bay Area. He founded the F.P. Lathrop Construction Company in 1952 and over the next 35 years went on to build many local hospitals, schools, universities, government facilities, industrial and commercial buildings, including the San Francisco Airport North Terminal, the Concord (Chronicle) Pavillion, and the Watergate Office Towers. Mr. Lathrop was born on February 17, 1916 in Oakland, California and grew up in Berkeley. He attended Berkeley High School and studied Engineering at UC Berkeley until World War II interrupted his education. In 1941 he was inducted into the Army as a 2nd Lieutenant at the Presidio in San Francisco. He was on active duty on Pearl harbor Day and served at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C. and at Eisenhower Headquarters in England and Europe. He was awarded the coveted Bronze Star and discharged at the Presidio as a Lt. Colonel. After the war, Mr. Lathrop worked for Westinghouse Electric before starting his own construction company in 1952. Under his leadership, the Lathrop Construction Company became one of the most successful general contractors in the Bay area in addition to having a national clientele. In the late 1960’s, with incredible vision and foresight, Pierce Lathrop purchased the Emeryville peninsula and built the road that now exists from end to end. Over the next decade and a half, he developed the entire peninsula by building restaurants, including Trader Vics, The Watergate condominium complex, and the three Watergate Office Towers. His tireless drive and financial risk gave Emeryville status. As a result of his vision of the peninsula, Emeryville prospered and became home to Silicon Valley companies and other business giants, such as Shaklee, Consolidated Capital, Chiron and General Electric, shopping centers and retail establishments, upscale restaurants and the cultured community which exists to this day. In early 1997 at the age of 81, Mr. Lathrop transitioned into retirement as Spieker Properties acquired nearly 1,000,000 square feet of his commercial and industrial office properties and Charlie Brown’s Restaurant. During his retirement years Mr. Lathrop enjoyed traveling with his wife, Fay Lathrop. As an avid fly fisherman, he relaxed at his Montana ranch and played tennis at his homes in Lafayette, Incline Village and Indian Wells. In addition to these sports, he enjoyed sailing his boat on Lake Tahoe and the Miss Watergate, a formidable cabin cruiser, was a familiar sight on the San Francisco Bay during the 1970’s. He was a member of the St. Francis Yacht Club, the Orinda Country Club, the Vintage Club and the Thunderbird Country Club in the Palm Springs area. Mr. Lathrop is survived by his wife of 35 years, Fay Lathrop, and his children, Steven Lathrop of Lafayette, Shand Lathrop Green of Orinda and Thomas Nash Lathrop of San Francisco, in addition to his eight grandchildren, Bryan Lathrop, James Lathrop, Christopher Lathrop, Diana Lathrop, Lindley Green, Jenny Green, Amy Green and Billy Green. A private burial service will be held at the Oakmont Memorial Park and Mortuary in Lafayette for family on Monday, December 17th, 2004. A larger memorial service will be planned at the Lathrop home at a later time.



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