Skip to comments.Bill Del Monte, Last 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Survivor, Dies Days Before 110th Birthday
Posted on 01/11/2016 1:56:15 PM PST by nickcarraway
The last known survivor of the devastating San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 died Monday.
Bill Del Monte, who was 109 years old, passed away just after midnight at the San Rafael senior care facility where he lived, according to his family. He was 11 days shy of his 110th birthday.
His niece, Janette Barroca of San Francisco, said he'd been doing "great for 109 years old."
Del Monte was just three months old when the quake struck, forcing his family into the streets to escape in a horse-drawn buck board with fire burning on both sides, Barroca said.
Speaking to NBC Bay Area in 2014, Del Monte expressed amazement at the length of his life.
"Itâs something I just canât believe,â he said.
Del Monte said he was able to watch San Francisco rebuild and reform after it burned in the earthquake more than a century ago. "It wasnât too much of a city then, but it sure is now,â said Del Monte who never had children and lost his wife over 20 years ago.
At his 108th birthday party, Del Monte also recalled his motherâs memory of the moments after the 1906 quake, when he was just a three-month-old baby.
"My mother in the kitchen, she put the table cloth around me, wrapped it around me as a bundle, and put me on a cart and went we down Broadway Street to the ferry," Del Monte said. "There was fire on both sides of the street.â
Del Monteâs memorial has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22, which would have been his 110th birthday.
Ruth Newman was the oldest remaining survivor of the earthquake before her death last summer. She was 113. Newman was 4 years old when the quake struck in the early morning of April 18, 1906.
First Bowie, now this!
Couldn’t hold on for at least one more week?
Rest in Peace
Just imagine the history he has lived through and experienced.
I wonder if (or how) he might have been connected.
Yup. When he was born, San Francisco was a Republican city full of normal families. Now it’s got the politics of a Communist gulag (North Korea) and its social culture is Sodom & Gomorrah. RIP.
Most people unaware that one of history’s greatest tenor experienced the earthquake firsthand. Here’s his account...
Enrico Caruso and the 1906 Earthquake
I remember a little of Sane Francisco; I was there in the Sixties. There and in Marin. The crazies were in enclaves. Marin was full of old-school Italian families, it was quiet, friendly and much closer to affordable. When I was about ten, the only risk in walking or bicycling for extended distances was...getting really tired. In SF, I used to walk a couple of blocks to kindergarten, first and the beginning of second grade. I’d go walk around down on Balboa by myself. We knew all the shopkeeps, so I had my own little social venue.
Even then, my grandfather used to caution me to ‘be careful; these are dangerous times”.
I wonder how it was in *his* time.
Just above this article it noted that: “Single-stall unisex restrooms may become law in S.F.”
So with the death of the last earthquake survivor, SF is all ready for the next big one. Maybe this time with fire and brimstone. Which, of course, the Democrats would proclaim was caused by Man Made Global Warming.
My father lived across the bay in Alameda (served in the Navy) in the ‘60s. He attested to the insanity going on there and at Berkeley. Incredibly, several of my relatives willingly choose to live there now. You couldn’t pay me good money to.
I was little in the early sixties. I knew I was seeing a lot of history -for better or worse- happening right around me. When I was maybe six I tried to talk my mom into talking me over to watch the riots in Berkeley. She, quite sensibly, declined.
Cowboy movie-star George O’Brien was also a San Francisco earthquake survivor. He grew up there.
My grandmother lived to be 98 and in one of my last conversations with her, she told me what it was like to live with no running water, no electricity, and automobiles were so rare that when they came by, everybody ran out of the house to see it. This was in the early 2000s and she still remembered all that. She bootlegged whiskey during Prohibition and had her own still!
I’ll bet his last word was “Shocking”.
My maternal grandmother was a girl living in San Francisco when she was shaken out of bed by the 1906 earthquake.
Thanks nc, that's a long haul.
btw, a sidebar — the actor John Barrymore was an alcoholic, tended to binge though; he was drinking in some SF saloon, so the story goes, was told he couldn’t be served any more, he paid, the quake started, he staggered across the street as the town was shaking, and he didn’t notice. He entered a different saloon, sat down, and ordered a drink.
interesting... the wiki-wacky sez, [snip] While in San Francisco in The Dictator, Barrymore was caught in the 1906 earthquake; he was thrown into the bath by the first shock. He helped troops to clear the roads. John Drew wryly noted that “it took a convulsion of Nature to get him into a bathtub and the United States Army to make him work”. [/snip]
Shaken not stirred, no doubt.
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