B. Rhett Hart

San Francisco Chronicle (Sunday) - - LIFE TRIBUTES -

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.

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