Count Francesco Brunetto Latini passed on Nov. 23, 2013. He was born in Rome on Sept. 1, 1930, the only son of Count Tommaso Brunetto Latini, who was the regimental commander of the Royal Guards, the Grenadiers of Sardinia and Aide de Camps of the King of Italy, Victor Emanuel III. His American mother was Helen Frances Parke Clark who was a descendent of two English colonial families of the 1690s; the Parkes of Michigan and the Clarks of Alabama.
Francesco’s father died in World War II in action in the Balkans. Cesco, as he was nicknamed, and his mother then moved to Switzerland where they remained until the end of the war in Europe in 1945. In Switzerland, he studied at the Institute Montana in Zug until moving to San Francisco with his mother. He entered Cate School, near Santa Barbara, from which he graduated with honors in 1948 and went on to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he studied mechanical engineering and business administration.
In 1955, Cesco joined Kaiser Engineers and Constructors Inc., one of the world’s premier international engineering and construction companies headquartered in Oakland. During the course of the next 30 years, he worked on all aspects of engineering and construction of major projects in many parts of the world. He travelled extensively with long-term posts in Rome, the island of Sardinia, followed by several years in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Francesco’s five children accompanied him on all of his long-term overseas assignments. All the children learned several languages, including Italian, Portuguese, German and French while studying at the English and American Overseas Schools.
After the Kaiser Empire was dismantled and Kaiser Engineers was sold, Cesco retired from Kaiser and took a three-year consulting assignment at the Livermore National Laboratory’s Laser Division in connection with the Strategic Development Initiative. Following this, he took on the construction management assignment to oversee building of 104 condominiums in Marin, followed by a four-year project management assignment to design and construct 68 single-family residences.
Cesco married his first wife, Catherine Beverly Meyers, in 1952 and they had three children together – Maria Giuliana Latini, Tommaso Brunetto Latini (Elsa), and Helen Giacinta Latini Hayek (David). Cesco had a second marriage to Baroness Veronika Von Blumenthal and had two more lovely children, Gabriella Latini Von Lieres (Christophe) and Alessandro Werner Latini (Laleh),
In 1984, he married Merryl Lackey and they lived in Marin County until moving to Sonoma in 1988 to a home in the Mission Highlands, which is located on a hillside north of town and overlooking the Valley of the Moon.
Cesco is survived by his wife Merryl, five children, 10 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Cesco will most of all be remembered by family and friends as a man who loved life and all it had to offer. Always charming and personable with those around him, Cesco was the most requested partner at the dinner table for his good conversation and wit. Cesco belonged for many years to the Firehouse Engine 31 Club, a men’s social gourmet club in San Francisco, whose members vied for culinary supremacy at their monthly dinners. Cesco also excelled at tennis, playing jazz on the piano, skiing, and most of all, dancing. With a natural rhythm, and many years in Brazil, Cesco loved to dance, and again, was the most requested partner, whether at the Cotillion or at Turk Murphy’s.