Reynaldo Morante spent the last years of his life making San Francisco’s cable cars “go.”
But this last Saturday morning, the iconic cable cars stood still.
One lone cable car sat at the foot of Grace Cathedral for Morante’s funeral, saluting his life.
The San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency ran bus shuttles along cable car lines Saturday morning, to allow those who knew Morante – a cable car operator – to attend his service.
Morante’s family and more than 100 Muni operators attended the funeral of Reynaldo “Rey” Morante on that crisp, cold, morning. As the mourners watched on, six Muni workers approached the hearse. They were clad in traditional Muni brown, save for one change – white gloves.
Together, they quietly lifted Morante’s casket from the hearse, and carried it to the cathedral. Soon they were followed by the mourners.
Morante’s family began a “Go Fund Me” page to help pay for his funeral, which raised $2,355 so far out of a needed $15,000.
Written by his family, the page read “His dream was to drive the Cable Cars because he wanted to take part in the history of San Francisco. He is a man that brightens the room with his presence and smile. He was known for being hardworking, selfless, and humble.”
Sandra Drake, who donated $75, wrote on the page “Take care and I’m sure you know you have a large family now, Muni. Muni always supports family and friends.”
Morante, 50, was in a coma after he was struck by a suspected drunken motorcyclist in June last year.
As the Examiner previously reported, Motorcyclist William Kanta Makepeace, 22, was arrested on June 11, 2015 near the corner of Taylor and Francisco streets after hitting Morante.
Makepeace was charged with two felony counts of driving under the influence of alcohol causing injury.
A Muni operator for more than 20 years, Morante became a cable car operator in 2014. His brother, Alan Morante, said he wanted to be “part of the legend” of cable cars. Following news of Morante’s collision, the SFMTA instituted safety reforms for cable cars, including requiring them to wear yellow vests and carry handheld stop signs.
Rey Morante is survived by two adult children, Josephine and Andrew, and his brother, Alan.
After news of Morante’s death, Mayor Ed Lee issued a statement saying “On behalf of the City and County of San Francisco, I extend my deepest condolences to the family of Reynaldo Morante who tragically died after being struck while on duty last year.”