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obituary
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Charles Locati spacee Charles Locati

Charles "Charlie" Ernest Locati, a member of one of Tiburon's old railroad families, died April 4 with family and friends at his side. He was 90.

Born in Old Tiburon to Ernest and Giovanna Locati, who emigrated to the U.S. from northern Italy, Mr. Locati grew up in a house on the Centro West Street that his father built with his own hands. The elder Mr. Locati was a blacksmith who worked in the railroad yard at the foot of the hill.

Mr. Locati was one of the last remaining residents from a time when Tiburon was dominated by that railroad yard. It filled all of downtown Tiburon east of Tiburon Boulevard. Those whose families didn't work for the railroad in those days owned small businesses dependent on the custom of the railroad and its employees.

As the railroad withdrew, a casualty of the construction of the Golden Gate Bridge, the space that emptied was replaced over time with a Safeway supermarket, two banks, a fire station, multiple parking lots, Tiburon Lodge, a dry cleaners, the three Point Tiburon condominium complexes and, finally, Belvedere-Tiburon Library and Tiburon Town Hall.

Mr. Locati attended Tiburon School, the elementary school later converted to Bradley House senior housing complex on Esperanza Street. Like most Belvedere and Tiburon children at the time, in the pre-Redwood High School days, he went on to Tamalpais High School, where he was a multisport athlete.

During World War II, he was drafted into the U.S. Army and was stationed in New Guinea for three years. After the war, he attended Marin Junior College, now College of Marin, where he studied drafting and mechanical engineering and was a member of the baseball and football teams.

Mr. Locati spent most of his career with Holman & Lawrence Engineering, designing agricultural storage facilities and waterfront shipping structures. He then began working with an inventor friend, engineering and constructing his prototypes.

A dedicated community volunteer, he helped build the Southern Marin Recreation Center, which later went private and became the Tiburon Peninsula Club. The Locatis then joined the club. "We practically lived there during the summer," said his daughter, Linda LeDonne of Napa.

Mr. Locati helped clear Judge Field for a community baseball field on land donated by William Judge. That area, too, was folded into the club when it went private and now is covered by the Tiburon Peninsula Club's tennis courts and parking lot.

It was Judge Field where the semi-professional Tiburon Baseball Club played. The town team dated back to the 1930s — and included future Hall of Famer Sam Chapman — but became the Tiburon Pelicans starting in 1950 under Mr. Locati, who was the catcher and manager. He wasn't working for Marin County Assessor George Hall very long before he persuaded Mr. Hall to become the announcer at Pelican games.

The New York Yankees invited Mr. Locati to try out, but, as he explained to family and friends later, his most important pursuit at the time was the courtship of his future wife, Roberta, and he feared a baseball career would take him away from home too much. He and Roberta were married 63 years and enjoyed travel and cruising on their own and with their family. Mrs. Locati died in 2012.

Mr. Locati was a volunteer firefighter with the Tiburon Fire Department and also played for the department's baseball league.

He was a member of the Tiburoners Club, an old-time social club for men on Main Street. Many Old Tiburon social events were held there, including Mr. Locati's wedding reception. It disbanded in the 1960s.

As a longtime member of the Corinthian Yacht Club, he spent many Friday evenings sailboat racing on the San Francisco Bay, crewing with pal Frank Brooks.

In addition to daughter Linda, Mr. Locati is survived by daughter Denise Honzel of Camas, Wash.; a grandson, Hunter Hetfeld; a nephew, Craig Smith of Seattle; and many cousins in Italy.

Donations in his memory may be sent to the Belvedere-Tiburon Landmarks Society, 1550 Tiburon Blvd., Suite M., Tiburon, CA 94920.

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