Noted Activist Tom Mayer Passes Away

Tom Mayer (Photo courtesy of
Tom Mayer (Photo courtesy of

By Otto Pippenger

Tom Mayer, noted community activist, died in late July from a heart attack. He was 62.

Mayer is survived by his partner Luiz Netto. Funeral services were held at The Most Holy Redeemer Church at 1000 Diamond St. Aug. 21.

Mayer, Originally of Pittsburg, was the former co-owner of the historical Roxie Cinema and the host of City College’s festival of the Moving Image.

He passed away from a sudden heart attack just moments after delivering articles he wrote on the Jewish Film Festival to the Castro Theatre.

Mayer moved to San Francisco after graduating from Boston University in 1976. He leaves behind a legacy of 39 years of activism for the film, Mission district and LGBT communities.

Upon his arrival in San Francisco in the 1970’s, Mayer immediately established himself as a community activist and defender of Cinematic and local history.

He became a prominent leader of the North Mission Association, focusing first to combat the arson attacks on 16th/Valencia, and later advocating for low cost housing and establishing a local business association. The North Mission Association established a community newspaper, North Mission News.

Mayer founded the Friends of 1800, which successfully lobbied to save the historical Fallon Building on Market Street by registering it as a national landmark with the help of Mayor Brown and Senator Mark Leno in 1998.

In addition to his stewardship of the Roxie, Mayer was instrumental in preserving the Mission’s Victoria Theater. His writing on film was published throughout his life in print and online. He was a fixture at numerous film festivals and LGBT events throughout the city.

He is remembered with great fondness as a benefactor of City College, and champion of the city at large.

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Send an email to: Otto Pippenger

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