Former Sunset magazine publisher and philanthropist Bill Lane died Saturday following a rich life of community dedication and leadership. Lane died at Stanford Hospital following an illness and surrounded by family members.
Lane, who was U.S. ambassador to Japan and Australia in the Ford and Reagan administrations, celebrated his 90th birthday last November.
He was also a co-founder of the Bill Lane Center for the American West at Stanford University. He graduated from Stanford in 1942.
Lane died of respiratory failure at Stanford Hospital at 7:30 p.m. Saturday following a week in a coma related to bleeding in the brain, or subdural hematoma. Family members were with him, according to spokespersons for the family.
Among numerous other community activities, Lane was a founder the Town of Portola Valley in 1964, and he served as its first mayor -- but only for about 20 minutes, saying he had other things to do.
He and his brother, Mel Lane, who died in 2007 at 85, were co-publishers of Sunset Magazine for more than 30 years. The magazine initially was purchased by their father, Laurence Lane, during the Depression when it was a shaky publication, and Bill Lane sold it door-to-door during the Depression years.
Following his graduation from Stanford, he served as a naval lieutenant during the balance of the war, including as as a gunnery officer on a troop transport.
Both brothers were avid environmentalists, contributing heavily to local and national environmental organizations and causes.