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obituary
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Martin Joseph Bramante spacee Martin Joseph Bramante

Martin Joseph Bramante of Belvedere died of congestive heart failure March 6 at his Belvedere home. He was 94.

Mr. Bramante was born in San Francisco to Giuseppe and Anna Bramante. He was raised in North Beach where, as he loved to tell his family, he sold papers on the street corner with Dominic and Joe DiMaggio. During World War II, Mr. Bramante served in the U.S. Navy as a radio technician on Treasure Island.

Fiercely proud of his Italian heritage, Mr. Bramante maintained close ties with Fisherman's Wharf, where his father was a commercial fisherman for many years. Although he had little formal education, he was good with numbers, which led to a successful business career in real estate acquisition and development in San Francisco, Marin and Sonoma counties. He loved business and was famous for his ability to work complicated financial equations with speed and accuracy without the benefit of pencil or paper.

He and his business partner, Bruce Bernhard, founded Cal-Pox Inc., which eventually became the parent company of his many business interests.
In 1967, the men founded the San Quentin Disposal site in east San Rafael. Many Marinites have fond memories of Mr. Bramante handing out lollipops to children and doggie biscuits to pets that accompanied families on trips to the dump. He operated the landfill for 20 years, closing it in 1987 to develop the property as Shoreline Office Center.

Bramante and his wife, Velia, moved to Belvedere in 1954. In years past, he was a member of the San Francisco Yacht Club, Belvedere Sailing Society and the Belvedere Tennis Club. Every day while his health permitted, he took a long walk from his home on Peninsula Road, said his daughter, Kathy LeGrand. When he reached Beach Road, he turned right to do the Belvedere Loop and Old Rail Trail, or left to do the Tiburon Loop around downtown Tiburon and Shoreline Park. He went to his office every day until shortly before his death.

Every Christmas season he passed out hundreds of Italian salamis and panettone breads to his friends and colleagues. He loved fine Italian food and, for more than 50 years, had been a frequent patron of Marin Joe's restaurant in Corte Madera.

"He lived a life filled with love for his family, hard work and a great zest for travel, socializing and playing cards," said his family. "He loved people of all inclinations and found great satisfaction in being able to brighten anyone's day."

He was known for never forgetting friends' or family members' birthdays and anniversaries, his big heart, solid handshake, wit and razor-sharp mind. He delighted in the activities of his grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

A generous person in every aspect of life, Mr. Bramante gave quietly and abundantly to many groups, causes and individuals over the years.
Mr. Bramante's wife Velia, known as Val, to whom he had been married 60 years, died in 2004.

In addition to daughter Kathy LeGrand of Newport Beach and Sioux City, Iowa, Mr. Bramante is survived by three grandchildren, Stephanie Plante of Mill Valley, Gregory Hansen of Newport Beach and Gianna Hansen of Scottsdale, Ariz.; five great-grandchildren; and many nieces, nephews and cousins. Another daughter, Susan Kirby, predeceased him, as did his sisters, Mary, Frances and Ann, and his brother, Frank.

A celebration of his life was held on March 23 at the Meadow Club in Fairfax. Donations in his memory may be made to Hospice by the Bay, 17 East Sir Francis Drake Blvd., Larkspur, CA 94939.

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