JOHN J. O'TOOLE
One of the most successful attorneys and enterprising citizens of San Francisco is John J. O'Toole, who is now
holding the position of city attorney, and who has been for many years a member of that group of men regarded as
truly representative of the spirit of the bay region.
Mr. O'Toole was born on a farm near San Jose, in Santa Clara county, California, September 28, 1872, and is a son
of William and Mary (Fenton) O'Toole. The maternal grandfather, Patrick Fenton, was one of the hardy '49ers who
came to California. He was a native of Ireland, but came here from South America, and first engaged in the bakery
business in San Francisco, later moving to the Santa Clara valley. William O'Toole was born in Canada, and came
to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama in 1852. He lived at Gilroy for a time and eventually settled on
a farm in the Santa Clara valley in 1858. His wife was born in San Francisco in the year 1850.
John J. O'Toole attended the public schools, and in 1890 graduated from Santa Clara College. He then studied law
in the office of James H. Campbell in San Jose; and in January, 1894, was admitted to the California state bar
after having passed his examinations. For a time thereafter, he practiced his profession in San Francisco in partnership
with Frank McGlynn, and then continued alone. He was successful from the beginning, and his clientage grew steadily
with the years. He was a member of the civil service commission of San Francisco until 1925, in which year he was
elected to the responsible position of city attorney, which he has held since. He has conducted his office with
rare skill and has in every respect proved a most satisfactory public official. He has shown a progressive attitude
in keeping with the development of the city. One of his favorite interests was the promotion of the trans bay bridge
to connect San Francisco and Oakland. In the campaign for this bridge he made trips to Washington, D. C. The state
of California finally took over the project, and the bridge is now assured, and has the approval of the United
On January 23, 1904, Mr. O'Toole was married to Miss Christine Regan, a native of San Francisco, and a daughter
of James and Mary (Morrison) Regan, her father having been one of the pioneers of 1849 in California. Mr. and Mrs.
O'Toole have become the parents of eight children, whose names are as follows: Mary, Christine, William, Eileen,
Thomas, Agnes, James, and Lawrence. The family residence is situated at 14 Fair Oaks street in San Francisco.
Mr. O'Toole was one of the organizers of the Knights of Columbus in this city, and is a member of the Native Sons
of the Golden West, the Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Olympic Club. Gardening is one of his
favorite hobbies in life, and he spends as much time as possible among the flowers which he grows. The fine reputation
of Mr. O'Toole in San Francisco and wherever he is known is entirely the result of his own character, his democratic
and generous attitude toward his friends and contemporaries, and his public pirited and loyal citizenship.
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
San Francisco, CA
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