Obituary: Gardner Williams Mein
March 22, 2012
Bon vivant and long-time lover of Tahoe and San Francisco, Gardner Mein passed away peacefully on March 16, 2012, at age 93. He was christened at the Tahoe City Episcopal Church in 1919, and since then has divided his time between his two favorite places on the planet.
In 1965 he built the River Ranch Inn at the foot of Alpine Meadows. 1969 he devoted his energies to the then-fledgling Squaw Valley Community of Writers, initially conceived of by novelists Oakley Hall and Blair Fuller and developed with the further assistance of local arts enthusiasts, including Oswaldo and Eddy Ancinas, Joan Klaussen, Burnett and Mimi Miller. While serving as President of the Tahoe City Chamber of Commerce, Gardner had the old Truckee River Gatekeeperand#8217;s Cottage, near Fanny Bridge, that was about to be demolished, moved across Highway 89. He then founded the North Lake Tahoe Historical Society and installed it in that building, where it is still headquartered. He and his wife Lani funded the early years of the Historical Society by conducting a series of amazing house tours of old Tahoe mansions and stately homes.
In 1962, as President of the San Francisco Planning Commission, he was instrumental in keeping high-rises off the shoreline and billboards out of the city. In 1957 He raised the matching funds to save the Palace of Fine Arts that was about to be demolished. In 1985 he raised funds to and#8216;Light the Palaceand#8217;. 1978, he founded and published the Nob Hill Gazette, the popular San Francisco monthly.
He is survived by his wife Lani of 49 years and his loving children, Gardner Hatch Mein, Mary Elizabeth Mein, Gardner Logan Mein, and Gardner Williams Mein.
Donations may be made to the North Lake Historical Society.