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First Families of the American West: Fleishhacker

The Fleishhacker family enjoys a long, rich history in the State of California. Aaron Fleishhacker (Mort’s and David’s great-grandfather), came to California during the gold rush period and established his fortune manufacturing paper boxes. Aaron’s sons, Mortimer and Herbert, organized the American River Electric Company, an early hydroelectric generation venture and in time, had more than a dozen power plants and factories in operation. They were also influential in the banking industry. The family was deeply philanthropic and responsible for many of the area’s cultural and landmark institutions including the Fleishhacker Zoo, which later became the San Francisco Zoo and the Fleishhacker Pool in San Francisco, famed as the world's largest saltwater swimming pool, which remained in operation until 1971.

Mortimer Fleishhacker ’50, a businessman who carried-on the family tradition of public service with his involvement in several charities in the San Francisco area including The American Conservatory Theater, North American Grantmakers, Museo Italo Americano, Temple Emanu-El, and the Institute of International Education, passed away on October 25th, 2011. True to his love of philanthropy and the arts, Mort and his wife, Frannie, made a generous gift to the Susan A. Nelson Performing Arts Center at Webb. As a student, Mort was editor of Blue & Gold, and a member of the track team.

David Fleishhacker ’55 is a career educator and author. He has served independent Bay Area schools for nearly four decades including as Interim Headmaster of two schools in the South Bay, and as Headmaster of the Katherine Delmar Burke School in San Francisco. In 2002, David published Lessons from Afghanistan, a book about his Peace Corps experiences. At Webb, David was an Honor Committeeman, played football and ran track, was a member of the Drama Club, the Choir and the Peccary Society, and also wrote for Blue & Gold; he was a life member of the California Scholarship Federation.
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