PASSINGS: Evelyn Haas, Ernest Auerbach, Keith Crown, Rex Nettleford
Feb 05, 2010 | 12:00 AM
Widow of Levi's CEO
Evelyn Haas, 92, a prominent San Francisco philanthropist and widow of Levi Strauss & Co. chief executive Walter Haas Jr., died Wednesday in San Francisco, her charitable foundation, the Evelyn and Walter Haas Jr. Fund, announced. No cause was given.
Fund officials say she led the foundation in contributing more than $364 million to hundreds of Bay Area organizations and projects, including the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the San Francisco Symphony and the restoration of Crissy Field, a 100-acre park on San Francisco Bay at the foot of the Golden Gate Bridge.
Born Evelyn Danzig in 1917 in Elberon, N.J., she grew up in New York City. She attended Wheaton College in Massachusetts, graduating in 1939, and met Walter Haas while he was attending Harvard Business School.
They married in 1940 and settled in San Francisco. Walter eventually followed his father, Walter A. Haas, and great-grand-uncle, Levi Strauss, in leading Levi Strauss & Co. The couple also owned the Oakland Athletics from 1980 to 1995. Walter Haas Jr. died in 1995.
A fly-fishing enthusiast, Haas co-wrote a book about the pastime called "Wade a Little Deeper, Dear."
Santa Monica developer
Ernest Auerbach, 93, an influential Santa Monica real estate developer who successfully bred racehorses on his Ramona ranch, died Monday of pancreatic cancer at his Pacific Palisades home, his daughter said.
He launched his real estate firm, Ernest Auerbach Co., in Santa Monica in 1946 and built "thousands" of homes and office buildings through his construction company, he once said.
"I bought land like some people buy artwork," Auerbach told the Thoroughbred Times in 2001.
In the early years, he often paid from $500 to $1,000 for residential lots in Santa Monica, the Los Angeles Times reported in 1987.
As of 1987, he had conceived and built more than 10 million square feet of Southern California commercial and residential properties then valued at more than $500 million. That included Auerbach Plaza at 2001 Wilshire Blvd. in Santa Monica.
After buying his thousand-acre ranch in 1977, he turned it into a showplace for breeding and training racehorses. His first major winner was Lottery Winner, an Apalachee gelding who won the 1993 Goodwood Handicap at Santa Anita.
Born in 1916 in Brooklyn, N.Y., Auerbach served in the U.S. Cavalry in Kansas before the Army sent him to Europe during World War II.
The father of two was also a philanthropist whose projects included the Auerbach Student Center at American Jewish University; and the Lisa and Ernest Auerbach Behavioral Health Center, open since 2008 at the Los Angeles Jewish Home in Reseda.
Artist and USC professor
Keith Crown, 91, an artist who painted abstract landscapes and taught at USC for nearly 40 years, died Sunday in Columbia, Mo., where he had been living since the mid-1980s, his family announced. The cause was not given.
Crown was a professor of painting and drawing at USC from 1946 through 1983. He painted mainly coastal scenes in oil and casein until the late 1950s, when he switched to watercolor.
In a 1987 Times review of a survey of Crown's work at the Los Angeles Municipal Art Gallery, Suzanne Muchnic cited his "sparkling watercolors" and "colorful celebrations of landscape." She noted that he had turned in the late '40s "from illusionistic space to flat abstractions of nature."
Crown arrived at USC after having studied at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and serving in the Army as a field artist in the Pacific during World War II.
He was born May 27, 1918, in Keokuk, Iowa, and grew up in Gary, Ind.
In the 1970s, he built a summer home in Taos, N.M., and spent many years painting landscapes there. After retiring from USC, he moved with his wife, Patricia D. Crown, to Columbia, where she taught at the University of Missouri.
Rex Nettleford, a Jamaican scholar and choreographer who co-founded the National Dance Theater Company a month after Jamaica gained independence from Britain in 1962 and led the organization for almost 50 years, died Tuesday after suffering a heart attack in Washington, D.C., the day before his 77th birthday.