Louis Henry Heilbron ’31, a leading labor attorney whose career was marked by a lifelong commitment to higher education in California, died December 20 after a short illness. He was 99.
Heilbron, who spent the early years of his career in California government, served on the California State Board of Education for nearly a decade—ultimately as its president in 1959. In 1960, he was named one of the 16 original trustees of what became the California State University system, and served as its first chairman from 1961 to 1963.
Born on May 12, 1907, in New Jersey and raised in San Francisco, Heilbron earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from UC Berkeley in 1928, and his law degree from Boalt three years later. Heilbron began his career in 1932 with the State Department of Public Welfare, where he quickly rose to become the secretary of the Social Welfare Commission and helped establish and lead the California Relief Administration. Two years later in 1934, Heilbron joined the law firm of Heller, Ehrman, White & McAuliffe, where he specialized in labor law and remained for more than 60 years.
Heilbron helped found the World Affairs Council of Northern California, and was an active supporter of KQED public television, serving as the first moderator of the station’s “World Affairs Are Your Affairs” program. He was a member of the Boalt Hall Alumni Association board from 1988 to 1991, and a recipient of the prestigious Citation Award in 1987.
Heilbron was preceded in death by his wife of 64 years, Delphine Rosenblatt. He is survived by his sons John Heilbron of Oxfordshire, England, and David Heilbron, of Tiburon, his sister Juliette Krasne of San Francisco, and three granddaughters. Memorial services are scheduled for February 13 at Temple Emanu-El in San Francisco.