Richard C. Blum, the husband of Sen. Dianne Feinstein, died Sunday night after a long battle with cancer, the senator said in a statement. He was 86 years old.
“My heart is broken. My husband was my partner and best friend for more than 40 years,” Feinstein said in a statement. “He was by my side for the good times and for the challenges. I’m going to miss him terribly”
Blum was the president and chairman of Blum Capital Partners, an equity investment company he founded in 1975.
Blum was born in San Francisco and received his Bachelor in Science in business administration and a Master of Business Administration from the University of California, Berkeley’s Haas School of Business. Blum married Feinstein in 1980, when she was mayor of San Francisco. Feinstein has represented California in the U.S Senate since 1992.
At the age of 23, Blum joined Sutro and Co., an investment brokerage firm, and became partner before turning 30. Blum helped acquire Barnum and Bailey Circus and Ringling Bros. for $8 million before selling the circus to Mattel for $40 million.
He had great interest in Tibet, founding the American Himalayan Foundation, a San Francisco-based non-profit to help Nepalis, Tibetans and Sherpas in the area by funding hospitals, building schools and taking care of the elderly and children. A friend of the Dalai Lama, Blum served as an honorary consul of Nepal. He also befriended Sir Edmund Hillary, one of the first climbers to have reached Mount Everest, and attempted his own trek in 1981.
Blum created the Blum Center for Developing Economies at the University of California, Berkeley in order to address global poverty by focusing on education, initiatives and research. Blum served on the University of California Board of Regents for nearly two decades and was chairman emeritus of the board.
Feinstein referred to her husband’s “enormous generosity” in her statement.
“We have a hole in our hearts that will never be filled. Dick, we love you, we’ll miss you and we’ll continue to celebrate everything you accomplished during an amazing life,” she said.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke about Blum’s contributions to San Francisco, the city she represents.
“A lifelong San Franciscan, Richard was a powerful force for good in our city,” Pelosi said in a statement. “Building a successful career in business, he constantly gave back to our city: whether as a patron of our arts, a donor to our food banks or a benefactor to our efforts to end homelessness.”
Sen. Alex Padilla said that Blum was a “compassionate humanitarian who dedicated his life to improving the world for others.”
“Above all, Dick was devoted to his family,” Padilla continued. “Over his four decades of marriage to Senator Feinstein, he took tremendous joy in supporting her pioneering leadership as a public servant. Angela and I send our deepest condolences and prayers to Dianne and her family in this difficult time.”
Source: Orange County Register