Financier Richard Blum married Feinstein in 1980 while she was still mayor of San Francisco, and the SF native brought a few of those bison to Golden Gate Park. He passed away Sunday night after a bout with lung cancer.
Consolations are pouring in from Washington, D.C. to San Francisco Monday morning, as one of the Bay Area’s preeminent political power couples has suffered a tragedy. Richard Blum, Senator Dianne Feinstein’s husband of 42 years, a San Francisco native and UC Berkeley grad who became a captain of finance and later the chair of the UC Berkeley regents, died of lung cancer at their home Sunday night, the Chronicle reports. He was 86.
San Francisco financier Richard Blum, whose extraordinary life took him from the halls of power in Washington as the husband of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein to the mountains of Nepal and Tibet as a philanthropist, died Sunday night.— Tal Kopan (@TalKopan) February 28, 2022
“My heart is broken today. My husband was my partner and best friend for more than 40 years. He was by my side for the good times and for the challenges. I am going to miss him terribly,” Feinstein said in a statement picked up by KRON4. “Dick was incredibly devoted to his family, particularly his daughters and his grandchildren, and my heart is with them and everyone who Dick encountered. He was the type of man who really replaced his divot in life, who left things better than he found them. His enormous generosity is an inspiration for so many of us.”
Dianne Feinstein’s husband Richard Blum dies after long battle with cancer https://t.co/oHtJAIZITa— Mercury News (@mercnews) February 28, 2022
Blum married Feinstein in 1980, about a year and three months into her term as mayor of San Francisco. (He was her third husband.) By then, the UC Berkeley grad had gone from broker at Sutro & Co. to founder of his own investment firm, Blum Capital. In 1984, Blum brought two bison to Golden Gate Park, whose descendants remain there today.
My heart is heavy for @SenFeinstein who has lost her husband, Richard.— Adam Schiff (@RepAdamSchiff) February 28, 2022
Richard Blum was a devoted husband, father, and grandfather who touched the lives of many.
I will keep the Feinstein family – and all who loved Richard – in my prayers.
May his memory be a blessing.
A personal friend of the Dalai Lama since the 1970s, Blum also had a keen interest in funding charitable efforts in the Himalayas, and once challenged Mount Everest with Sir Edmund Hillary, the first to ever summit that mountain.
“The last time Ed Hillary was on Everest was with the expedition I led in 1981 through Tibet,” Blum once told the Chronicle.
Blum would go on to serve on the UC Board of Regents, and eventually as its president (though he inappropriately pulled a few strings for some of his friends' kids, about which he claimed innocence and said he was merely writing letters of recommendation). According to KPIX, “He also served as co-chairman of the World Conference on Religion and Peace; was a founding member of National Geographic’s International Council of Advisors; was a trustee of the executive committee of The Carter Center; and sat on several boards including the World Wildlife Fund, the Wilderness Society, the Brookings Institution, the California Academy of Sciences and the Glide Foundation.”
My thoughts are with @SenFeinstein and her family after the loss of her husband, Richard Blum. May his memory be a blessing.— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) February 28, 2022
Yet while Blum and Feinstein were a power couple. their stock market conflicts of interest have drawn scrutiny going back decades. It was often seen as a little bit dirty that Blum’s investment interests benefited from the Iraq War and other matters that were before Feinstein as a powerful legislator.
Sending my deepest condolences to my longtime friend, colleague, and ally @SenFeinstein on the passing of her husband Richard Blum. A compassionate philanthropist and businessman, Richard was a powerful force for good in the Bay Area and beyond. May he Rest In Peace. ❤️— Rep. Barbara Lee (@RepBarbaraLee) February 28, 2022
Yet Blum clearly loved having a wife who was considered a greater success than he. His colleague and former UC president Mark Yudof once told the Chronicle, “He never tires of telling people that, when they married, he decided to keep his maiden name.”
Image: WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 03: U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) (L) participates in a reenacted swearing-in with her husband Richard C. Blum and U.S. Vice President Joe Biden in the Old Senate Chamber at the U.S. Capitol January 3, 2013 in Washington, DC. Biden swore in the newly-elected and re-elected senators earlier in the day on the floor of the current Senate chamber. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)