Eugene E. Trefethen Jr., who guided projects from the Hoover Dam and Bay Bridge to the creation of Haas School of Business, died Jan. 31 at his Napa home. He was 86.
"He was a legendary figure on the Berkeley campus," said Earl Cheit, dean emeritus of the Haas school. "I have never worked with anyone with greater generosity and idealism. More than anyone else, he was responsible for the success of the new building."
Trefethen, who concluded his career with the prestigious Trefethen Vineyards, began it as a sand and gravel laborer for Kaiser's Livermore facility while still a Cal student.
He soon became an assistant to Henry J. Kaiser, working with him on the Hoover Dam and the Bay Bridge. During five decades with Kaiser, he held many management positions and served as president and vice chair of Kaiser Industries Corp.
"Gene Trefethen will be remembered for his untiring service to Cal as an outstanding volunteer whose leadership as a member of the UC Berkeley Foundation Board of Trustees, as well as his involvement in countless fund-raising campaigns, inspired others to emulate his philanthropic spirit," said Chancellor Tien.
Trefethen was Alumnus of the Year in 1979, received the Chancellor's Award in 1981 and in 1989 was awarded the Berkeley Medal.
He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Catherine; his daughter, Carla Jean; his son, John, and four grandchildren. A public memorial service will be held at Grace Cathedral in San Francisco Feb. 29 at 1:30 p.m.