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George Christopher (1907-2000)

George Christopher, San Francisco's 34th mayor, died Sept. 14 at 92. Mayor Willie L. Brown, Jr., immediately ordered City flags lowered to half-staff to honor his predecessor.

Born in Arcadia, Greece, December 8, 1907, he was brought to San Francisco at the age of two and educated in the public schools, later graduating with a degree in accounting from the Golden Gate Night College.

In 1930, after becoming a citizen of the United States, he changed his surname from Christopheles to Christopher.

The Excelsior Dairy made him an official in 1937, followed by a partnership in the Meadow Glen Dairy, which eventually became Christopher Dairy.

In 1945 he began his political career when elected to the Board of Supervisors. He was reelected in 1949 and served as president of the Board.

George Christopher was elected mayor of San Francisco in 1955 to succeed Elmer Robinson and took office Jan. 8, 1956. He was elected to a second term in 1959 after a bruising campaign. Russ Wolden, who ran against Christopher, charged that the mayor, and Police Chief Thomas Cahill, had allowed San Francisco to become "the national headquarters of organized homosexuals in the United States."

In the 1966 primary election George Christopher ran against Ronald Reagan for governor, but was defeated.

Mayor Christopher was also responsible for encouraging the New York Giants baseball team to move to San Francisco with the promise of a new baseball stadium to be built at Candlestick Point. Christopher Drive, in San Francisco's Twin Peaks area, is named for the former mayor.

Gladys Hansen
September 14, 2000

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