SF celebrates the life of Warrren Hellman

December 21, 2011 9:42:04 PM PST
Thousands of people came together Wednesday in San Francisco to celebrate the life of Warrren Hellman -- the billionaire who shared so much of his wealth and his passions with the city.

Music was a large part of Hellman's life, so it was only fitting that 30 musicians played as friends, family and civic leaders left the memorial service.

It was a tribute to the man who left an indelible mark on San Francisco. He was a financial investment leader, but found his biggest reward in philanthropy and music. His most memorable creation is the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival.

Hellman often talked about his love of bluegrass.

"I don't know, it just resonates; I try to pretend when I'm atat the symphony or opera that I'm really enjoying it," Hellman once said.

To remember him, Speedway Meadow at Golden Gate Park has been renamed Hellman Hollow.

"There was never a question about doing it; it was unanimous at the Board and at the Rec and Park," Recreation and Parks Commission spokesperson Mark Buell. "The testimony was just stunning."

Buell says Hellman had also been helping him on the America's Cup plan.

"One of the things that people don't know about is that he helped us save the Giants; he took no credit for it, but he helped us put together a last minute effort," Giants President Larry Baer said.

"His attitude of giving back transcended not just charity, but the people he dealt with," restaurant CEO Larry Mindell said.

Mindel was his business partner for 25 years.

Hellman may be gone, but what he helped create here will live forever.

There will be a celebration of Hellman's life in Golden Gate Park in February.


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