Courtesy PhotoRemembered: Milton Marks III

CCSF trustee known as reformer passes away

Milton Marks III, a member of the City College of San Francisco board of trustees, died Thursday afternoon due to complications from a brain tumor.

Fellow board member and political ally John Rizzo said Marks will be remembered as a bold reformer who was kind and professional, but also not afraid to take on entrenched interests during past tumult at the school.

“Before I joined, he was kind of by himself pointing out the problems and taking a lot of heat for it,” Rizzo said. “He would do battle with the administration — these are the guys that pleaded guilty to felonies eventually. He coached me to join the board and help him, and I didn’t know what I was getting into, but I’m glad I did. He was the nicest guy in politics I knew — a real fighter.”

Marks was elected to the board with the highest-ever vote total in 2004, surpassed only by his next successful election in 2008. He served as president of the board in 2009 and 2010.

Rizzo first met Marks when the latter headed the Friends of the Urban Forest, one of several environmental causes that he also applied to the college.

“Under trustee Marks’ leadership, San Francisco City College adopted stronger environmental policies and its first sustainability plan,” said Larry Kamer, a CCSF spokesman.

Rizzo said the death of Marks comes at a time when his leadership is sorely needed, as the college faces a potential loss of accreditation and therefore possible closure.

“It’s sad that we don’t have him now to clean up the current situation,” Rizzo said.

Kamer said the flags of the college will be lowered to half-staff in honor of Marks and that funeral services are scheduled for him at 11:30 a.m. on Sunday at Sinai Memorial Chapel, 1501 Divisadero St. Marks is survived by his wife, Abby, and their three young children.

The family is asking that remembrances be made in the form of donations to Friends of the Urban Forest, San Francisco’s Congregation Beth Shalom and the oncology program at UC San Francisco.

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