The Hon. L. W. Lane Jr., the former publisher who built Sunset magazine into one of the country's leading regional publications and a pioneering voice of conservation, passed away July 31, 2010, at the age of 90.
The San Jose Mercury News noted that lane was a Republican "in the Teddy Roosevelt model of conservation," and he gave generously of his time and money to regional conservation efforts. But he was a generous philanthropist for many organizations, including his alma mater, Stanford, where he donated $5 million in 2005 to endow the Bill Lane Center for the American West.
Lane was also a longtime member of The Commonwealth Club's Board of Governors – in fact, he was the longest-serving member of the board, where he provided invaluable help and expertise. For example, when The Club decided The Commonwealth magazine would begin to accept paid third-party advertising, Lane sat down with The Club's publishing staff to discuss pitfalls and potential, which included many of the lessons he and his family had learned through their long stewardship of Sunset.
But that was only one of his contributions to The Club. Lane noted that his involvement with The Commonwealth Club went all the way back to the 1940s, when his naval commanding officer assigned him to attend Club lunch meetings to keep track of what Club speakers were saying about the war and world events. From Commonwealth magazine redesigns to increasing the visibility of The Club's California Book Awards to underwriting radio broadcasts, Bill Lane left a great legacy – and a lot of friends – at The Commonwealth Club.
We will miss him very much.