Remembering Charles Fracchia

August 10, 1937-July 21, 2021

Charles Fracchia, founder of the San Francisco Historical Society, died peacefully early Wednesday.  One of San Francisco’s most respected historians, Charles gave countless gifts to the city he loved. He founded the San Francisco Historical Society in 1988;  led 17 historical walking tours for two generations of San Franciscans; taught history courses at USF, the Fromm Institute, San Francisco State, and City College; and lectured at venues throughout the city.

Charles was a true Renaissance man. After a successful career in investment banking, he turned his attention to writing and teaching.  He was the author of 17 books and, for more than 25 years, served as Publisher of the historical journal The Argonaut and quarterly newsletter Panorama. Charles loved clubs. He was an active member of the Book Club of California, the University Club, the Lotos Club of New York, E Clampus Vitus, and the Association Nationale de Bibliophilie. He was also a Fellow of the California Historical Society and one of the founders of Rolling Stone magazine.

Charles was a wise mentor, a faithful friend, and a trustworthy confidant. His intelligence, compassion, and quick wit will be dearly missed by the many, many people who love him. He and his wife Liz were generous hosts; a dinner party in San Francisco or a weekend at their home in Sutter Creek was an experience long cherished.

Charles is survived by his wife Liz, his brother Gareth, four children from his first marriage, four grandchildren, one great-granddaughter, and hundreds of friends. A requiem mass was held on Tuesday, July 27, at 10:30 a.m. at Star of the Sea Church in San Francisco.


Charles Fracchia