Biography of William F. Culberson
San Francisco, CA Biographies





The late William F. Culberson, veteran leader in the automobile industry in California and one of the outstanding executives of the San Francisco Motor Car Dealers' Association, was for nearly three decades at the head of the automobile distributing organization conducted under the name of the W. F. Culberson Company, Ltd. He was born in Fremont, Ohio, February 2, 1868, and passed away in San Francisco, June 28, 1931. In young manhood he came to California and associated himself with the George N. Pierce Company as representative in Oakland and San Francisco, retaining this territory when the company began the manufacture of automobiles and continuing as exclusive distributor for the Pierce Arrow car until 1930. In April of that year he resigned and took over the same territory for the sale of the Reo car, and thus he continued successfully in business as president of the W. F. Culberson Company, Ltd., until his death. His territory covered the city and county of San Francisco and the ten adjoining counties. The widow of Mr. Culberson has succeeded him in the presidency of the company and has capably carried forward his interests in this connection. For two terms Mr. Culberson served as president of the San Francisco Motor Car Dealers' Association, of which he was treasurer at the time of his death.

In 1905 Mr. Culberson married Miss Katharyn Cummings and to them was born a daughter, Beth, who is a graduate of the Castilleja School of Palo Alto, California. The husband and father was a man of domestic tastes, devoted to home and family, and was highly esteemed among his fellow members of the Commonwealth Club, the Down Town Club and the Union League Club. One of the local papers, reviewing his career at the time of his passing, said: "San Francisco paid its last tribute to William F. Culberson yesterday. Automobile owners, dealers, bankers, members of the trades affiliated with the automotive industry, public officials and private citizens attended the simple services held in respect to his memory. Mr. Culberson was one of the outstanding leaders in the California motor car industry. He was a pioneer in the 'individual transportation' business, starting in with the bicycle and joining the motoring ranks with the development of the automobile. For twenty nine years he headed his automobile distributing organization in San Francisco and many of the improvements and betterments standard in motor cars today were made from Culberson's observations and suggestions. Also many of the existing state laws aimed to improve conditions for the driving public were his ideas, as are many of the business rules and practices common in the California automotive trade today. Mr. Culberson had a magnetic personality, a brilliant mind and an even disposition. He was a splendid business man and was most diplomatic and tactful in handling his affairs. He made friends and held them by his fairness in all matters."

From:
The History of San Francisco, California
Lewis Francis Byington, Supervising Editor
Oscar Lewis, Associate Editor
The S. J. Clark Publishing Company
Chicago-San Francisco 1931


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