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Herbert Hamrol

Survivor of S.F. quake

February 09, 2009|Times Staff and Wire Reports

Herbert Hamrol, 106, who according to the San Francisco Chronicle was the last known survivor of the earthquake that leveled the city on April 18, 1906, died Wednesday at Seton Medical Center in Daly City, Calif.

Last April, Hamrol was the lone survivor to attend the annual commemoration of the cataclysmic quake and fire that destroyed most of the city.

An active senior citizen, until last month he was still working stocking shelves and greeting customers at San Francisco's Andronico's Market. He started with the company when he retired as a grocer in 1967.

"He still came in twice a week -- took the BART and the bus to work from Daly City, and walked," said Janine Barrett, a manager at Andronico's.

Over the years, Hamrol was a regular at commemorations of the Great Quake, spinning stories about how he escaped a crumbling building in the city's Fillmore District in his mother's arms. He was just 3 when the earthquake hit. After the quake, his family moved to Chicago but stayed only briefly before moving back while San Francisco was being rebuilt.

Hamrol began working after grammar school and eventually owned Herbert's Food Shop on 16th Avenue and Geary Boulevard for nearly 40 years. He moved to Daly City in the late 1980s.

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