PIEDMONT -- The city is mourning the loss of beloved civic volunteer William "Bill" Drum, who died Friday at age 73.

A celebration of his life will be held at 2 p.m. Thursday at Piedmont Community Church, 400 Highland Ave. Donations are suggested to Piedmont Education Foundation or a favorite charity.

Drum's involvement in Piedmont was far-reaching. He was a founding member of the Citizens' Oversight Committee and a representative on the Bond Steering Committee for the schools. He also helped with the difficult transition for the Piedmont Swim Club and worked every year on the Harvest Festival.

"Bill exemplifies the best of Piedmont's spirit of volunteerism," Vice Mayor Margaret Fujioka said. "From the Piedmont pool to the Harvest Festival, to many other school and civic contributions, Bill distinguished himself as a statesman with a heart of gold. He will be greatly missed."

Former Piedmont Swim Club President Tim Rood said of Drum, "He was a tireless and prolific volunteer. I worked with Bill for years on the pool board and more recently through Piedmont Connect and the current school parcel tax campaign."

Drum often spoke at City Council meetings, where his comments were always positive and informative, whether it was encouraging residents to grow vegetables for the Harvest Festival or promoting conservation.


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He graduated in 1962 from Stanford University with a bachelor's degree in biological sciences and obtained a master's degree in public health from UC Berkeley in 1969.

He had tutored students at Piedmont Avenue Elementary School in Oakland since 2009. He had been a mentor to backyard gardeners in West Oakland through City Slicker Farms since 2007 and was co-founder/chairman of the Harvest Festival for 13 years. He also worked as a consultant for Ridge Hospital Resources and tutored through Experience Corps of the San Francisco Bay Area.

He was a project manager for UC San Francisco Medical Center from 2003 to 2005.

Councilman Garrett Keating recalled two fond memories of Drum.

Keating was at the AAA office in December renewing family passports when he ran into Drum and his wife, who were booking a trip to the Rose Bowl.

"Stanford had just clinched the day before. He got to see (his alma mater) win," Keating said.

Keating also recalled seeing Drum walking vigorously around the Bay Area.

"One day, he said he had walked from Lake Merritt to Montclair, about eight miles. He walked in a day the miles I run in a week. I was hoping to tap Bill for his thoughts about the bike-pedestrian plan we will develop in the next year," Keating said.

"He was a man of few words but a very neat guy."

School district officials were moved and saddened as well. Drum was a key volunteer in school affairs.

"Bill was more than a man who rendered uncompromising service to his community," Superintendent Connie Hubbard said. "He will forever remain a man of integrity, of irrepressible humor. He is among the finest human beings I have ever had the privilege (to know). To know Bill Drum is to understand the adage of how age never touches a loving heart; and Bill's was as loving and as great as many of us will ever know."

He is survived by his wife, Joan; sister, Lynn Drum, of Sacramento; two daughters, Fredericka Seale Drum and Francesca Seale Drum; and four grandchildren.