Rita Fazioli Fink, a longtime Belvedere resident who was named the city’s 2008 Citizen of the Year for her instrumental role in the conception, planning and fundraising for the existing Belvedere-Tiburon Library, died April 18 of natural causes. She was 100.
About 1991, Mrs. Fink, her late husband, Rex, and a half-dozen other Belvedere and Tiburon residents began meeting for breakfast to plan a new, large independent library to replace the Marin County Free Library branch that was squeezed into a small space in what is now the retail side of the Belvedere-Tiburon Post Office. The project had overwhelming community support, and a groundbreaking was held in March 1996. The new library opened in 1997 at 1501 Tiburon Blvd., next to Tiburon Town Hall.
Rex Fink died in 1995. The fireplace room in the existing library was named in memory of him in recognition of the effort he and Mrs. Fink put in to make the library happen.
Mrs. Fink served on the board of the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Agency, which oversees the library’s operations, for six years and was a longtime volunteer at the library, recommending nonfiction books to patrons.
She was also active with the library’s fundraising arm, the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation. In addition to volunteering at the foundation’s Corner Books store at The Boardwalk Shopping Center, Mrs. Fink some three decades ago came up with the idea to call on her friend Elaine Petrocelli, co-owner of Book Passage in Corte Madera and San Francisco, to help host a fundraising luncheon for the library in the Finks’ home. That event is still held annually, most recently at the San Francisco Yacht Club in Belvedere.
Born Feb. 19, 1920, in Troy, N.Y., Mrs. Fink graduated from Russell Sage College, a women’s college in Troy. She married Rex in 1940, and the couple moved to the Cincinnati area after he accepted a job with Proctor & Gamble and later for the Clorox Co. after it was acquired by Proctor & Gamble. Mrs. Fink worked for the Cincinnati Scholarship Foundation.
After they moved to Belvedere and built a house on the lagoon in 1957, Mrs. Fink worked for Mount Zion Hospital, now a part of the University of California at San Francisco Medical Center, and for the San Francisco health department.
Mrs. Fink was also a book critic for the Pacific Sun newspaper and the San Jose Mercury News. She was The Ark’s book reviewer from 1988 to 1992.
She and her husband loved playing tennis. They and a friend founded the Belvedere Tennis Club, and she didn’t give up playing tennis until she was 85.
She is survived by two children, Ric Fink of San Francisco and Cindy Fink Ranocchia of Rome, and two grandchildren, Jeremy Hughes of San Francisco and David Allen-Hughes of San Anselmo. Her brother Chris, who lived to age 99, died in 2016.
Donations in her memory may be sent to the Belvedere-Tiburon Library Foundation, 1501 Tiburon Blvd., Tiburon, CA 94920.
Deirdre McCrohan has reported on Tiburon local government and community issues for more than 30 years. Reach her at 415-944-4634.