It was a somber yet joyful day for Fuzzy Renfrew, Goofy Gerstein and Fat Ass Bakar.
On Monday they eulogized William Coblentz as a lion of the San Francisco bar, a former regent of the University of California, a shaper of San Francisco's skyline, and a man with a penchant for handing out silly nicknames.
"My name is Charlie Renfrew -- better known to all of you as Fuzzy," was how the former federal judge and Coblentz law partner introduced himself to a nearly packed Herbst Theater.
Coblentz, patriarch of the firm known today as Coblentz, Patch, Duffy & Bass, died last month at 88. He was remembered as a man who wanted to make the world a better place -- and had the political capital to do it.
"No issue was too large or too small for Bill," said Sen. Dianne Feinstein, who recalled that as a member of the S.F. Airport Commission, Coblentz had pushed through free luggage carts for international passengers. Part of the airport's Terminal 2 has been named in Coblentz's honor.
Several speakers recalled Coblentz's clashes with then-Gov. Ronald Reagan during the 1960s. Law school classmate Bakar -- true first name Gerson -- said that despite their disagreements on issues like affirmative action, Reagan and Coblentz maintained a cordial relationship.
Private equity magnate Warren Hellman, who gave his eulogy in verse, framed it slightly differently: "As chair of the regents he really was swell/He told the governor to go straight to hell."
Berkeley Law School Dean Christopher Edley recalled the moral support Coblentz gave during UC's funding crisis -- "about persevering in the face of what in the last couple of years has looked like a pretty daunting challenge." There was financial support too, in the form of the William K. Coblentz Civil Rights Endowment Fund at Boalt Hall.
"As much as we miss you," Edley said, "you'll continue to do good for all of us, as you always did."