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Longtime San Francisco Deputy City Attorney Robert Kenealey died Monday after a bout with myelofibrosis, a bone marrow disease. He was 77. Kenealey worked under four San Francisco city attorneys, beginning in 1958 and spanning about 35 years. Deputies in the office still remember him as a fount of knowledge and a mentor. When he retired in 1992, Kenealey was the city’s chief bond lawyer. Kind and with a sense of humor, “he was always happy to give you the big picture,” said Deputy City Attorney Kathryn Pennypacker. “He treated you as part of a family, and he was helping to raise you in the city attorney’s office.” And his memory was unbelievable, said Julie Van Nostern, head of the city attorney’s tax team, who considered Kenealey a mentor and friend. “He could cite cases that happened 20 years ago. And I would go and look it up — and he had argued them.” “Before the office mantra was, ‘I don’t know, ask Buck [Delventhal],’ it was ‘Ask Bob,’” the city attorney’s office said in an informal statement Monday. “He was my supervisor when I started, and taught me a lot of what I know about municipal law,” said Delventhal, who started in the office in 1970. Born and raised in Petaluma, Kenealey graduated from Santa Clara University in 1949 and from Hastings College of the Law in 1953. He worked as an investigator for the State Bar, then briefly for an insurance company before he joined the city attorney’s office, said daughter Danielle Kenealey, a former San Francisco deputy city attorney. During his career, the city attorney’s office said, Kenealey was instrumental in a number of significant projects, including preparations for the 1984 Democratic National Convention, the construction and financing of Moscone Convention Center, the reconstruction of infrastructure after the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake, and the development and financing of Candlestick Park. “Most people don’t know what municipal law is, and he really just conveyed such a passion for it,” said Danielle Kenealey. A couple of years ago the city attorney appointed Kenealey to serve on the city’s Elections Commission, where he reportedly voted against the controversial 2002 ousting of elections chief Tammy Haygood. Kenealey loved to travel, and in his retirement he visited countries around the globe, from Egypt and Israel to China and Australia, said his daughter, who is now a senior deputy city attorney in San Jose. “He was sort of a bon vivant.” Kenealey is survived by his wife, Eileen, and four daughters: Joelle of San Francisco, Danielle of Burlingame, Michelle Corbett of Oakland, and Maureen Metteri of Sebastopol. As of Monday afternoon, funeral services had not been set.

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