Arturo Leonard Lloyd, Jr.
May 21, 1925 – December 4, 2016
On Sunday, December 4, Arthur Lloyd left this world with dignity and grace, surrounded by his children, grandchildren and caregivers in the living room of his home in Menlo Park. He was a powerful presence in our lives even as a series of strokes diminished his ability to move around and communicate. To the end, he expressed love for his family and gratitude for his care.
A sixth-generation Californian, Arthur was born and raised in San Francisco. When Arthur was about to start his sophomore year at the newly-opened Lincoln High School, his father moved his dental practice from downtown San Francisco to Napa. Dismayed by life in what was then a sleepy small town, Arthur accelerated his high school career by taking courses at the local community college, allowing him to matriculate at U.C. Berkeley in 1942, at the age of 17. Not long after his 18th birthday, he enlisted in the army and was sent to Fort Benning, GA, for basic training, and then to Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri, where he served in the Medical Corps until the war ended in 1945.
After the war, Arthur returned to his pre-med studies at UC Berkeley, where his lab partner, Eleanor Hutson, invited him to a sorority dance. They fell in love, and on April 20, 1946, they were married aboard her father’s ship, the U.S.S. Dixie. After the first of three children, Lynne, was born, Arthur supported his new family on his earnings from Sequoia Stages, a bus line he and three friends founded to transport students on the GI Bill from the former Richmond Shipyards to UC Berkeley. In 1949, when the university closed the Richmond student housing, the need for bus service evaporated. Arthur took a position as a reservations clerk for the Western Pacific Railroad’s newly launched passenger train, the California Zephyr. Within a month, he had moved out of reservations and into public relations, where he found his calling. He was able to marry his love of history and trains with a gift for organization and communication, fulfilling the axiom he often shared with his children: “Make your avocation your vocation.”
In 1950, Arthur’s son Larry was born and the family moved to San Mateo. With that move, Arthur began a daily journey to and from San Francisco aboard the Southern Pacific’s commuter line. In the 1950s, as lobbyists from the oil and automobile companies pushed to replace railways with highways, and railroads tried to divest themselves of passenger service in favor of more lucrative all-freight lines, Arthur fought to preserve rail travel, especially in his beloved California. At the time, railroads had to petition the I.C.C. to discontinue passenger service, and Arthur testified for the value and efficiency of train travel at many of those hearings. Sadly, as many battles were lost as were won. The saddest moment came in 1970, when the Western Pacific ran its last California Zephyr through the Feather River Canyon. A photo of Arthur gazing wistfully out a Vista Dome window is the most iconic image we retain of him.
Arthur left the Western Pacific in 1961, becoming a partner in the second-oldest travel agency in California, Clift Travel, which was housed in the Clift Hotel on Geary. In the ten-year period he owned Clift Travel, Arthur arranged many special excursions for the Pacific Coast Chapter of the Railway and Locomotive Historical Society. With the R&LHS, Arthur and Eleanor traveled to Canada, South America, Switzerland, Australia and New Zealand, all in pursuit of the last narrow gauge steam trains across the world. Larry and Lynne joined “Cariboo” excursions to Canada each summer, and in 1968, youngest daughter Liane traveled to Europe with the group. In later years, Arthur and Eleanor brought their grandchildren with them on rail journeys across North America, giving us all a taste of the wind through an open vestibule of a Pullman car.
In his most significant career move, Arthur joined the National Railroad Passenger Corporation (re-named Amtrak subsequently) in October 1971, as its 90th employee. The nationalization of passenger rail in America fulfilled Arthur’s most ardent dreams, although the practical difficulties of running passenger trains on a shoestring budget and in the face of hostility from the some railways quickly became apparent. For three years, Arthur worked in Amtrak’s Washington, DC, headquarters, serving as liaison to the network of travel agents across the U.S. and Europe as manager of Amtrak’s agency sales. One of his great frustrations was the lack of a rail link between his home in northern Virginia and the capitol city, forcing him to commute by car. In 1974, when given an opportunity to head up Amtrak’s western region, Arthur moved his family back to California. For one year, he lived and worked in Los Angeles (in an apartment overlooking Union Station) during the week and returned home to the San Francisco Bay Area on weekends.
In 1975, Arthur became Director of Public and Government Affairs, West, for Amtrak, and settled into an office in the Trans Bay Terminal in San Francisco. For the next 16 years, Arthur was the “go-to” person for all things Amtrak for the local press, earning him the nickname “Mr. Amtrak.” It also gave Arthur an opportunity to study the process of local governance, to better understand how public transportation was funded and sustained. In 1988, he joined the SamTrans Board of Directors, and in 1992, was appointed to the Peninsula Corridor Joint Powers Board overseeing Caltrain. Those appointments launched Arthur’s final career in public service, as he continued working assiduously to ensure public transportation for Peninsula residents well beyond his retirement from Amtrak in 1991. Arthur served on the SamTrans and Joint Powers Boards for more than 20 years, during a period in which service was expanded and ridership boomed.
Educating the public was central to Arthur’s tireless advocacy for rail travel. In recent years, he was a member of Operation Lifesaver, working to make rail crossings safer and to prevent suicides. He was also instrumental in the establishment of the California State Railroad Museum in Sacramento, and remained on its Board until recently. He was a member of many, many other advocacy groups and government committees, all of which benefitted from his historical understanding of rail travel in California.
Arthur’s public involvement notwithstanding, his family retains the memory of a gentle, loving man. When any one of us had difficulties, the first person we called was Arthur. He raised his children in tumultuous times and saw their paths head in directions his generation could not have imagined. Yet Arthur remained steadfast in his unwavering support for his children and grandchildren, establishing a family paradigm of acceptance that we all seek to emulate. The family’s appreciation was clearly illustrated as they gathered time and again in Arthur and Eleanor’s home for every holiday and milestone.
He leaves behind his daughter Lynne, her husband Dr. John Rosenberg and their children Stacey Gerber, Sarah Rosenberg and David Rosenberg; his son Larry and his children Bonnie Lloyd, Rosemary Freeman and Robert Lloyd; and his daughter Liane and her son Spencer Strub. He also leaves eight great-grandchildren, all of whom knew and loved Great-Papa. He was preceded in death by Eleanor, the love of his life, in 2010.
Services will be at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, December 17, 2016 at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, 178 Clinton Street, Redwood City, CA 94062. Mourners may join the family in a memorial Caltrain ride from Redwood City to Palo Alto on Train #428 at 12:09 p.m. Roundtrip tickets will be provided, and a reception will follow at MacArthur Park restaurant across from the Palo Alto train station. The family suggests contributions to the California State Railroad Museum, the Peninsula Humane Society (where Arthur got his beloved dog, Zephyr), or St. Peter’s Episcopal Church, where Arthur and Eleanor were parishioners for 59 years.