RIP, San Francisco Chronicle business columnist Lloyd Watson — a friend and former colleague

Ernest Beyl a longtime publicist in San Francisco and friend of mine going back to when I worked at The Chronicle in the ’80s, posted this on his Facebook page this afternoon:

“My friend Lloyd Watson, Chronicle business columnist for many years, died this morning. He would have been 91 on September 12. Great guy. A real gentleman.”

Lloyd and I worked together at The Chronicle in the ’80s and became good friends — albeit a generation apart. Like Herb Caen and his assistant Carol Vernier, I would pass on the goings-on and gossip from my beat reporting of Chevron, Bechtel, Crown Zellerbach, Pacific Lumber Co., United Airlines and others for Lloyd’s columns. Lloyd lived in a  studio apartment in Chinatown, and introduced me to some off-the-beaten-path restaurants and watering holes including Li Po, named after the Chinese poet.

Here are some memories of that era that I have published before:

Don White, Lloyd Watson and I all worked together on the Business page, a real blending of generations, but we sometimes socialized together. I enjoyed hearing their stories. We “competed” against Harry at The Examiner.

Harry, Don and our wives would sometimes gather at the M&M after work near The Chronicle at Fifth and Mission for cocktail hour and then go to dinner (including at the Washbag). (Or we’d just eat there — “McVeigh’s Special” was the burger w/o bun and side salad).

For a long time, there was no Nordstrom Center in the neighborhood and certainly no Intercontinental Hotel (the one on Howard). Later Herb Greenberg (later a CNBC correspondent) and I were colleagues on the business desk. We’d sometimes grab a sandwich at a joint across the street, now gone. I never ate at the old Chinese buffet where Nordstrom now is located.

Shannon and I were regulars at Brandy Ho’s. We’d walk there from our flat on Telegraph Hill. (Herb, of course, liked Tommy Toy’s). We sometimes still go to the Oriental Pearl on Clay for old times sake. Or Le Central, a favorite of Herb’s and Willie Brown (just down the street from Wilkes Bashford, where both got their clothes). Same with Sam’s Grill on Belden.

Newspapers (and newspaper “wars”) were peaking, but we hardly knew it. The internet made us “grow up” too fast, but at least the Sports and Business section is green (as it was when I first was there). In that sense, we’ve come “full circle.”

The ’49’ers were champions too, winning super bowls. Shannon and I met at a party in Cow Hollow during the ’49’er-Cincinnati bowl game of 1989. Frank Carrillo, a regular at the Washbag with Ron Fimrite, designed my simple gold wedding band when we got married: http://articles.sfgate.com/2003-12-20/bay-area/17523504_1_softball-team-jewelry-amos-alonzo-stagg.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for years, was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News, and was Editor of The Union, a 145-year-old newspaper in Grass Valley. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing and trout fishing.

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