ALAMEDA -- The depth of Hadi Monsef's dedication to Alameda and the people who call it home is reflected in the number of community organizations that garnered his support.

The local Elks lodge, Girls Inc. of the Island City and the Rotary Club of Alameda are just some of the groups that were helped by the longtime real estate broker, who rarely missed a meeting or a fundraiser.

His fellow citizens, in turn, rewarded him with a place on the Alameda City Council.

Monsef died on Aug. 20. He was 81.

Many are long retired by that age, but at the time of his death, Monsef still worked each day at Omm Inc., the real estate company where he had been a vice president and a broker since 1991.

Hadi Monsef, a former Alameda City Council member and longtime real estate broker, died at the age of 81.
Hadi Monsef, a former Alameda City Council member and longtime real estate broker, died at the age of 81.

"He was a man full of life," said Jan Mason, who worked with Monsef for 35 years. "And he never stopped living that life in his own way. He was just a kind, kind person."

Monsef was appointed to the council in 1983, after he placed third in that year's election and then-Councilwoman Anne Diament won the mayor's race. He continued to serve through 1989, including as vice mayor between 1985 and 1987.

He made an unsuccessful bid to return to the council in November 2002.

"I do my studies," he once said, when asked to describe his leadership style. "I talk to people and make my decision on the basis of what I see is best. I'm soft-spoken but thorough."


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As a councilmember, Monsef said he was proud that he helped initiate a no-smoking policy in public places, a stand which he noted was not especially popular in the 1980s, and that he worked for the city to have a financial reserve policy.

Lil Arnerich, a former vice mayor, credits Monsef with helping him launch his political career. Monsef cast the deciding vote to appoint him to the council in 1986, Arnerich said, allowing him to complete the term of Councilwoman Amey Stone following her resignation.

"I owe everything to Hadi," said Arnerich, who would remain on the council until 1996.

Monsef's conscience guided him as a public representative, Arnerich said.

"Hadi was very personable," he said. "I never saw him lose his temper."

Monsef also served eight years on the city's Public Utilities Board in the late 1970s and early 1980s, when the local utility went through a significant change -- from a distributor of PG&E electricity to a generator as part of the Northern California Power Agency.

A native of Iran, Monsef immigrated to the United States to pursue his education and attended the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, where he earned a bachelor's degree in engineering in 1962. He moved to Alameda in 1970.

Before becoming a real estate broker, he worked for the state of California and supervised nuclear power plant construction for the Bechtel Corp.

"He was a gentle gentleman," Mason said. "He was a man of great integrity who had love for the people of this community."

A memorial service for Monsef will take place 1:30 p.m. Sept. 12 at the Elks Lodge, 2255 Santa Clara Ave. His survivors include a brother who lives in Marin County and two brothers who live in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Reach Peter Hegarty at 510-748-1654 or follow him on Twitter.com/Peter_Hegarty.

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