B. Rhett Hart
April 22, 1945 – October 20, 2018
The charming and wellloved Rhett Hart slipped away on October 20 in the arms of his wife Pat. He left us longing for his wonderful stories, his warmth, his kindness, his welcoming grin, his twinkling eyes, and, above all, his friendship.
He had a gift for making people smile and for lighting up a room with laughter. Rhett’s presence made you feel welcome and let you know something special was about to happen. From his card tricks to his witty new jokes, he was a delight to be around.
Rhett was born in Chicago and spent summers in Indiana with his two brothers and three sisters on Lake Wawasee where his lifelong love of watersports began (even waterskiing on bare feet). After serving proudly as a Submariner in the U.S. Navy and attending college in Denver, he headed West in his early twenties, became a “Native” San Franciscan, and established a career in the group health insurance industry.
With his passion for helping others, Rhett became deeply involved in local charitable, non-profit and social organizations, leaving a rich legacy of involvement in both areas.
For over 25 years, Rhett dedicated hundreds of hours as a leader and a mentor to the U.S. Marine Corps Devil Pups Organization supporting summer camps for teens. Many graduates credit the camp’s focus on physical challenges, teamwork, discipline, and ethics with changing their lives, a source of pride for Rhett.
In 1977, Rhett joined The Guardsmen, a non-profit organization supporting atrisk youth through outdoor summer education programs and scholarships. He was deeply committed to their cause and chaired several committees, including one supporting the Devil Pups.
Most recently, Rhett was proud to serve as a Knight of Grace and Deputy Commander of the Western Military Commandery of the Sovereign Order of St. John of Jerusalem, Knights Hospitaller. The organization’s programs include support for homeless veterans, sports programs for the disabled, and relief efforts for the Napa/Sonoma Wildfires, among others.
His dedication to fulfilling his responsibility to be a contributing member of his community, is exemplified in his service on the 2013-2014 San Mateo County Civil Grand Jury.
Meaningful personal relationships with peers were a significant priority for Rhett. His weekly lunch meetings, interesting conversations, and fellowship with his Calamari Club brothers were a source of great joy. Another group, Le Club Chausseurs Menteurs met monthly and was always a time for camaraderie and fine food. A renowned raconteur, many photos capture Rhett regaling the crowd with stories and jokes with the members collapsing in laughter. Rhett loved to entertain his friends.
An enthusiastic world traveler, he and Pat visited exciting destinations around the world, including Tahiti, St. Petersburg, Normandy, Beijing, Morocco, Spain, and many more. Always curious about the past, Rhett immersed himself in the history of each place and returned with captivating stories about ancient and current events.
In addition to his devoted wife of 32 years, Rhett leaves behind brothers John and Oliver, sisters Linda Carder and Mary Kay Hart, 11 nieces and nephews, and 21 grandnieces and grandnephews who adored him. He is predeceased by his sister Barbara Hess.
His wife’s family claims Rhett as one of their own, including sisters-in-law Peggy (Dick) Schmotter, Paula (Ron) Ledgett, brother Scott Garvey (Louise), and their children and grandchildren.
We are all forever grateful to have known and loved this wonderful gentleman. He will be greatly missed and remain always in our hearts. It is a tribute to Rhett how many people counted him a favorite uncle, sibling, cousin, and trusted loyal friend. If you count yourself among them, please join his wife Pat in toasting him at a celebration of his life on December 6 from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM at the Presidio Officers Club.
In lieu of flowers, please make a donation to one of Rhett’s favorite charities: the Sovereign Order of St. John, c/o Bill Gisvold, 11 Sierra Avenue, Piedmont, CA 94611, reference: the “Rhett Hart Fund”; or to The Guardsmen, https://guardsmen.org.