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Walter H. Shorenstein, Democratic backer, real estate mogul

Walter H. Shorenstein, known as a titan of downtown San Francisco real estate development and a highly influential Democratic Party donor and fundraiser, died Thursday. He was 95.

Shorenstein, former chairman and chief executive of the Shorenstein Co., died of natural causes at his home in San Francisco, a family spokesperson said.

“He was a man of extraordinary vision, leadership and wisdom,” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., said in a statement, describing Shorenstein as “a proud San Franciscan, a great American and a dear friend.”

Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called Shorenstein “a civic giant whose legacy is imprinted on the skylines of San Francisco, Oakland and many cities across the nation.”

A World War II veteran who said he arrived in San Francisco after the war with “no job, a pregnant wife and less than $1,000 to my name,” Shorenstein went on to head one of the country’s largest privately owned real estate companies, with holdings across the nation.

By 1985, when he bought Bank of America’s 52-story world headquarters in downtown San Francisco, Shorenstein was known as the city’s biggest landlord. He estimated at the time that he owned or managed about 25 percent of the building space in San Francisco, roughly 10 million square feet of office and commercial real estate.

At the time, Shorenstein had recently been named the California Democratic Party’s 1985 Man of the Year.

He had donated $190,000 to help bring the Democratic National Convention to San Francisco in 1984 and spearheaded efforts to raise an additional $1.8 million.

Edith Shain,

nurse in war-end kissing photo

Edith Shain, a retired Los Angeles elementary school teacher who claimed to be the mystery nurse in a photo seen by millions around the world, died of cancer June 20 at her home in Los Angeles, said her son, Michael. She was 91.

Life magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt’s photograph of an anonymous young sailor in a dark-blue uniform dipping a white-uniformed nurse backward while giving her a long kiss in the middle of Times Square on Aug. 14, 1945, symbolized the euphoria surrounding the news that the Japanese had surrendered and World War II was finally over.

Shain was a married, 27-year-old part-time nurse at Doctors Hospital in Manhattan when she joined the jubilant crowd in Times Square celebrating V-J Day.

“You can imagine how people felt. They were just elated,” Shain said in a 2005 interview with the Los Angeles Times. “Someone grabbed me and kissed me, and I let him because he fought for his country. I closed my eyes when I kissed him. I never saw him.”


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