San Francisco

Bill Del Monte, Last 1906 San Francisco Earthquake Survivor, Dies Days Before 110th Birthday

The last known survivor of the devastating San Francisco earthquake and fire of 1906 died Monday.

Bill Del Monte, who was 109 years old, passed away just after midnight at the San Rafael senior care facility where he lived, according to his family. He was 11 days shy of his 110th birthday.

His niece, Janette Barroca of San Francisco, said he'd been doing "great for 109 years old."

At his 108th birthday party, Del Monte recalled his mother’s memory of the moments after the 1906 quake, when he was just a three-month-old baby.

"My mother in the kitchen, she put the table cloth around me, wrapped it around me as a bundle, and put me on a cart and went we down Broadway Street to the ferry," he said. "There was fire on both sides of the street."

Del Monte also expressed amazement at the length of his life.

"It’s something I just can’t believe," he told NBC Bay Area in 2014.

Del Monte said he was able to watch San Francisco rebuild and reform after it burned in the earthquake more than a century ago.

"It wasn’t too much of a city then, but it sure is now," said Del Monte who never had children and lost his wife over 20 years ago. 

A memorial has been tentatively scheduled for Jan. 22, which would have been Del Monte's 110th birthday. 

In a statement, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee said Monday Del Monte represented "the resilience of the people of San Francisco."

"His legacy is a true reminder of how resilient our City is," Lee said.

Ruth Newman was the oldest remaining survivor of the earthquake before her death last summer. She was 113. Newman was 4 years old when the quake struck in the early morning of April 18, 1906.

NBC Bay Area's Joe Rosato Jr. and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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