In Memory of Bob Ohrenschall


It is with great sadness that we share the news of the passing of our dear friend and founding board member Bob Ohrenschall.


Mr. Ohrenschall joined WiRED International as its first board chair in 2000. For more than a decade, he contributed significantly to our vision, fundraising, network of contacts, and health education efforts. He was always ready to provide guidance and suggestions for organizational administration, new programs, and activities.


Known for his warmth and easygoing spirit, Mr. Ohrenschall was a creative, successful entrepreneur and businessman who actively supported many nonprofit and humanitarian causes over the years. In addition to his invaluable contributions to WiRED, Mr. Ohrenschall served on a number of boards, including the International Diplomacy Council, The Eisenhower World Affairs Institute, the Ohrenschall Center for Entrepreneurship at San Francisco State University, the Tiburon-Belvedere Rotary Club, and the Romberg Tiburon Environmental Centers.


Originally from Baltimore, Mr. Ohrenschall earned a degree in history from Yale University and served with distinction as an officer in the U.S. Navy. He founded and became a partner in Soyster & Ohrenschall Inc., International Marketing and Design Consultants. Following his retirement, he remained chairman emeritus of the renamed company, Addison Design.


Mr. Ohrenschall met WiRED's founder Gary Selnow in 1998 when, as program chair of the Tiburon-Belvedere Rotary, he invited Dr. Selnow to speak at the club and briefly describe a new nonprofit venture he was starting up in developing countries. Upon hearing the presentation, Mr. Ohrenschall was hooked. He viewed the Internet as a gateway and means of opportunity to people who were disadvantaged by war or economic conditions, and as his wife of more than 55 years, Sue, remarked: "He thought [Dr. Selnow] was doing things in countries that didn't have as many people interested in them, and because they were off the beaten track, consequently they needed help."


A kind, thoughtful man with a wonderful sense of humor, Mr. Ohrenschall shared a deep commitment to philanthropic volunteerism with his wife. He served as a Cub Scout leader while she served as president of five PTA groups for their children's schools. Both supported the San Francisco Symphony, and they made substantial donations to San Francisco State University, particularly in business and environmental education.


Bob Ohrenschall was a wonderful guide, supporter, and friend. His leadership and deep compassion for humanitarian issues will continue to make a tremendous difference to WiRED and to the many thousands of people worldwide whose lives are saved through these health education efforts. Mr. Ohrenschall leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a meaningful legacy of kindness and humanitarian work that has truly made a difference. Our friend will be greatly missed.