San Francisco Chronicle

Mariana Gantus Wall

July 7, 1984 - February 2, 2023


Mariana Gantus Wall, loving mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt, and friend, passed away on February 2 at her home in San Francisco after a year-long battle with colorectal cancer. She was 38.

Mariana was, in short, a force. She was a force for joy, she was a force for empathy and equity, and she was a force for her family and friends. Whether there was something to celebrate or something to fight for, she was there by your side. Mariana was the person who would lead the charge, be first on the dance floor, or simply sit with you when needed. She was a force — and the world is dimmer without her radiant energy.

Born on July 7, 1984 to Jo Ann and John Gantus, Mariana grew up in Glendale, California as the third of four siblings. As a child, she was universall­y adored, which continued throughout her life. Mariana danced ballet, played sports, and performed onstage in theater. From her early years, Mariana had a passion for art that blossomed during her time at the University of Southern California where she majored in art history and communicat­ions. After graduating cum laude, Mariana parlayed an internship in the Los Angeles office of Christie’s auction house to a full-time position with Christie’s in New York. She spent nearly a decade working in the jewelry, Impression­ist and Modern Art divisions, eventually managing strategic partnershi­ps for the company. During her time with Christie’s, Mariana became known for a perseveran­ce and vision that belied her age.

While working for Christie’s, Mariana enrolled in the Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell, where she earned her MBA and met her husband, Doug. Doug’s measured and steady demeanor was a perfect complement to Mariana’s vibrant and energetic personalit­y. Mariana adored Doug, and it was clear the feeling was mutual. After graduation, Mariana joined Doug to work at Volcano Capital Management, a family foundation with investment­s in the Bay Area.

Shortly after, the couple got married in Hawaii on New Year’s Eve, and they relocated to San Francisco to start their family and live closer to Mariana’s siblings.

Once in San Francisco, Mariana quickly endeared herself to her community and joined the boards of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco and Tipping Point Community. More recently, Mariana co-chaired a committee that revamped the de Young Museum’s de Youngsters Day Out fundraiser to include underserve­d students, signaling a generation­al shift for the museum towards inclusion and diversity. With her leadership, the program set new fundraisin­g records. Mariana also sat on the board of The Little School, where she was known for her radiance and her welcoming presence.

That was Mariana’s magic: full of joy, she was utterly accepting of those she loved and opened her heart to those she encountere­d along the way. To know Mariana was to love Mariana, and she will be dearly missed by all those who were privileged to love her.

Mariana is survived by her husband Doug and their children Eugenia, 6, Matilda, 3, and Vance, 10 months; her parents Jo Ann and John Gantus; her brother Brandon and sister-in-law Tiffany Gantus, and their children Caroline, Caleb, and Colin; her sister Jeanice Gantus; and her brother John and sister-in-law Gabrielle Gantus.

Funeral services will be held at St. Nicholas Antiochian Orthodox Church in San Francisco on February 14 at 10:30 AM. The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Mariana’s name to the Artemis Project, which focuses on preventing metastasis in cancer.

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