Rep. Jackie Speier, D-San Mateo, this evening announced the death of her father, Manfred (Fred) Speier; she said he passed away peacefully and surrounded by family on Monday at her Hillsborough home at the age of 91.
“My father was the rock and foundation of my life. He was always there for me during my darkest days, and for the most joyous moments such as the births of my children. He lived a long and full life and was alert and sharp as a tack until the very end,” Speier said in an e-mailed statement. “On Saturday, just two days before he passed, he was regaling us with stories of his life. He was most proud of being a naturalized U.S. citizen, so much so that he requested to be buried in a simple pine box draped in an American flag.”
The congresswoman said her father was born in Germany, came to the United States after World War II and married Nancy Kanchelian in 1949. Speier’s mother passed away in February 2009; Speier’s brother, Eric Speier, lives in Elk Grove.
The lawmaker described her father as an incurable optimist who came to San Francisco and found a job within two hours, eventually working as a nurse, a short order cook, and a manager for a local, family-owned company. His work ethic and civic awareness were examples that set the tone for family life, she said.
A funeral mass will be held this Saturday at Saint Bartholomew Catholic Church, 300 Alameda de las Pulgas in San Mateo.