Wilkes Bashford (1933 – 2016)

Wilkes Bashford 2Former Hillsdale resident, legendary luxury clothier and philanthropist, Wilkes Bashford, died on January 16, 2016.

He was born in 1933, the son of Byaly Bashford and Dorothy (Wilkes) Bashford.

In 1945, his father and mother moved to Hillsdale so that Byaly could join his father, Wilson Bashford, in the International Harvestor dealership in Hollowville.

He graduated from Roeliff Jansen Central School in 1951 and from the University of Cincinnati five years later.

In 1965, Mr. Bashford opened a men’s clothing store, Wilkes Bashford, on Sutter Street in San Francisco that became known well beyond the city for the impeccable style of its wares. Eventually, the store moved across the street, occupying its own building, and included merchandise for women as well. After the economic downturn in 2008, the Mitchell family, large retailers, acquired the store, though retaining its name.

Mr. Bashford continued to go the store until shortly before his passing. He happily greeted the numerous friends who came to congratulate him on the store’s 50th anniversary earlier this year.

Mr. Bashford was active in the civic affairs of San Francisco. He helped raise money for causes as diverse as the prevention of animal abuse and the restoration of the War Memorial Complex in San Francisco. He served for many years as a trustee of The Performing Arts Center, which stages opera and ballet in the city.

He maintained a strong affection for Hillsdale and his friends here. He enjoyed seeing the latter at the 1999 reunion of all classes that had attended Roeliff Jansen.

Mr. Bashford is survived by a brother, Bruce Bashford and a sister-in-law, Joan Esposito of Hillsdale.

A service will be held at some future date in San Francisco.

Links:

On top of his game

The man who gave San Fran its elegance

NYT Obituary

Almost 1,000 help send off Wilkes Bashford in style