Silicon Valley real estate developer and philanthropist John Arrillaga Sr. dead at 84

Renowned Silicon Valley real estate developer and philanthropist John Arrillaga Sr. has died. He was 84.

John Arrillaga 

Arrillaga’s son-in-law, venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, confirmed the death via Twitter.

“RIP my father-in-law and hero John Arrillaga, 1937-2022,” Andreessen said a post.

In a Medium post, Arrillaga’s daughter, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen, said her father “passed away peacefully” on Monday while being held by his second wife, Gioia Fasi Arrillaga, and his two children, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and John Arrillaga Jr.

Arrillaga was a well known philanthropist. In 2013, he made a $151 million gift to his alma mater, Stanford University, the largest to date at that time from a living donor.

“He believed that successful philanthropy means combining financial resources with brainpower, skills, and networks to amplify the number of lives he can touch and help transform,” Arrillaga-Andreessen wrote. “He believed that ‘one should always give as much as one can, for the more one gives, the more life gives one in return.’”

At the time of his death, Arrillaga had built and donated more than 200 projects and buildings, including the Frances Arrillaga Alumni Center and the Arrillaga Family Sports Center, according to his daughter. He was also responsible for 38 fully endowed academic scholarships and 19 fully endowed academic scholarships at Stanford.

As a real estate developer, Arrillaga partnered with Richard Peery for 50 years at their firm, Peery Arrillaga, according to his daughter. They produced many of the region’s most prominent corporate campuses, totaling more than 20 million square feet.

“Arrillaga was the creative visionary, while Peery was their financial and legal mastermind,” his daughter wrote. “Together they partnered on the negotiations, and John was known as ‘the toughest dealmaker in Silicon Valley,’ given his focus on construction and leasing.”

Arrillaga-Andreessen said her father was also a dedicated family man.

“He never missed one of his children’s sporting events, award ceremonies and talked with both his children every day,” she wrote.

Arrillaga was born in 1937 to professional soccer goalie, Gabriel Arrillaga, who later became a laborer in the Los Angeles area, and Freda Arrillaga, a former nurse. After graduating from Morningside High School in Inglewood, Arrillaga attended Stanford on a basketball scholarship and majored in geography, according to his daughter.

Arrillaga-Andreessen said her father went on to travel the world while playing for the national basketball team of Spain. He also briefly played for the San Francisco Warriors, but quit when he realized professional basketball “would not afford him the family life that he desired.”

After briefly selling insurance, Arrillaga saved enough money to purchase his first run-down commercial building and fixed it up himself before earning enough in rent to buy a second building, according to his daughter.

Arrillaga met his first wife, Frances C. Arrillaga, a few years after she graduated from Stanford. The couple had two children, Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and John Arrillaga Jr.

“John and Frances Arrillaga had a beautiful partnership of family, service, and generosity,” Arrillaga-Andreessen wrote.

“Together, they embodied the philanthropic spirit at its finest, creating the Arrillaga Foundation and contributing to countless causes,” she continued. “They were an incredible team and continued his extraordinary generosity throughout the Silicon Valley Community.”

Several years after Frances Arrillaga died, Arrillaga met and married Gioia Arrillaga.

Arrillaga is survived by Gioia Arrillaga; John Arrillaga Jr. and his wife Justine and their three sons; Laura Arrillaga-Andreessen and her husband Marc Andreessen and their son; his late brother Gabriel’s wife Kay Arrillaga and their three sons; William Arrillaga and his wife Linda and their two sons; Alice Arrillaga Kalomas and her husband Anthony Kalomas and their four children; and Mary Arrillaga Danna and her husband Angelo Danna and their son.

In lieu of flowers or gifts, the family encouraged people to donate to a nonprofit of their choice in Arrillaga’s honor. For more information about and to register for his celebration of life, email [email protected].

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