Warren Thoits, a lifelong attorney, philanthropist and property owner in Palo Alto who helped run the family business, Thoits Brothers, died Thursday night after a year-long battle with cancer. He was 87.
Known to hundreds of friends and associates as "Mr. Palo Alto," his family's firm owns a 16-acre piece of San Antonio shopping center in Mountain View as well as 17 properties in downtown Palo Alto. The firm is currently in agreement to sell the Mountain View property.
Thoits was well-known around Palo Alto due to his extensive range of activities and interests, from the Chamber of Commerce to the Avenidas senior center and Peninsula Stroke Association.
He chose a career in law and graduated from Stanford Law School. He ultimately was became a founder of the Thoits, Love, Hershberger and McClean law firm.
His father owned a shoe store on University Avenue and a brother, Kent, founded Thoits Insurance, with which Warren was not affiliated.
In addition to contributing financially to community-based organization, Thoits contributed his time, serving on community boards of directors, including Avenidas and the stroke association -- he had suffered a stroke eight years ago. He also gave heavily to Stanford University, and spread other contributions through the community.
"He was one the greatest human beings I've ever worked for," said Candace Peterson, who for the past 20 years was property manager for Thoits Brothers. "You couldn't ask for a better or more humanitarian person," she said.
Peterson said Thoits should be remembered for his kindness, his willingness to listen to others and his desire to create a better community by working with people and managing properties well.
Born in 1922, Thoits was the youngest of five siblings and was the last surviving sibling. He is survived by his wife, Vicki; four children, Pam, Edward, Rod and Teresa; and by grandchildren.