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Posted by Cathy Gowdy on Wednesday, February 08, 2006 at 08:56:47 :

San Francisco Chronicle
Thursday, June 21, 2001

Don Clever
by Kelly St. John, Chronicle Staff Writer

Don Clever, a San Francisco-based designer and muralist, has died of complications from Parkinson's disease at the age of 85.

A Tiburon resident, Mr. Clever died last month in the Family Manor Community Care Home in Richmond.

Born in 1916 in Champion, Alberta, Canada, Mr. Clever moved to San Francisco at age 20. Although he had no formal training beyond an eighth-grade education, he quickly found success as a muralist. His work included a mural of Moses descending Mount Sinai. The mural hangs in San Francisco's Temple Sherith Israel.

Mr. Clever soon began to work as a designer, sketching out projects like the gold and scarlet interior of Johnny Kan's in San Francisco.

"He was not a nuts-and-bolts man, but he was very creative," said Joyce Clever, his wife. "Nothing ever looked like anything else he had done."

One of Mr. Clever's most beloved projects was Storyland, a children's fairy park with murals and fairy creatures at Fleishhacker Playfield near the San Francisco Zoo. Mr. Clever sketched out the murals and fiberglass figures in 1960, when his own children were young.

In the decades that followed, he worked for several Japanese clients, traveling to the island nation 37 times, his wife said.

Mr. Clever's work won numerous awards here and abroad, including a Bronze Prize in the Tokyo International Lighting Design Competition, the Governor's Award for the Roaring '20s building in San Francisco and the State of California Awards for designing for the state fair.

Mr. Clever is survived by his wife of 41 years, Joyce Clever of Tiburon; four sons, Gregory Clever of Berkeley, Christopher Clever of Hawaii, Jason Clever of Tiburon and Christian Clever of Larkspur; and a daughter, LiLi Clever of San Luis Obispo.

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