Mel Bacharach, BS 48

Levi Strauss Executive & Philanthropist

Mel Bacharach, BS 48, Levi Strauss Executive & PhilanthropistMelvin Lewis Bacharach, a former executive vice president and a longtime board member of Levi Strauss & Co. and UC Berkeley supporter, passed away on August 19 at age 93.

Bacharach rose to prominence at Levi’s beginning with his introduction of permanent press apparel to the world. He was also instrumental in opening the doors of Eastern Europe to U.S. trade during the Cold War era and considered the crowning achievement of his career convincing then-communist Hungary to build a plant, solidifying Levis as an international brand and breaking down trade barriers that existed through the 1970s and 1980s.

After retiring from Levi’s, Bacharach, a veteran of both WWII and the Korean War, went on to establish a venture capital company, International Business Sponsors. He also started and built several other companies, including VMB, Inc.; Diamond View, LP; and Au Bear Properties.

In retirement, Bacharach put significant effort into UC Berkeley. He served on the Board of Trustees for the University of California Foundation and also as president of the Bear Backers. Bacharach gave generously to Berkeley Haas and to the Athletic Department. Many of his gifts—an improved wheelchair ramp at Haas, access and seating for Memorial Stadium, and an elevator and walkway at Haas Pavilion—assisted people with mobility challenges in honor of his wife, Vera, a Berkeley alumna who passed away in 1995. Mel and Vera met at UC Berkeley and were happily married for 45 years.

Bacharach is survived by two children, six grandchildren, five great-grandchildren, and his longtime partner, Sandra Bacharach.

In Memoriam

Barbara Wallace, BS 44
Gerald Crane, BS 45
Ronald Berryhill, BS 47
Melvin Bacharach, BS 48
Robert Hawes, BS 48
Fern Katte, BS 48
Thomas Peek, BS 48
Howard M. Garrett, BS 49
Edwin Lee, BS 49
Edward Magnoli, BS 49
Robert Nicol, BS 49
William Flause, BS 50
Robert Gilbert, BS 50, MBA 52
John Marconi, BS 50
Catharine Rising, BS 50
Rushton Backer, BS 51
Leroy Wigginton, BS 51
George Nolan, BS 52
Lawrence Peterson, BS 52
Herbert Miller, BS 54
William Tubbs, BS 56
Lewis Demuth, BS 58
Wendell Payne, BS 58
Dieter Winkler, BS 61
Paul Speer, BS 62
Michael Scranton, BS 63
David Rubardt, BS 66
Robert Sternfels, BS 67
Gerald Berger, MBA 67
Jonathan Penn, MBA 67
Richard Baker, MBA 69
Philip Chew, BS 72
Winnie Wing-Kei Tso-Curé, BS 84
Winnie Yu, BS 91
Michael Kan, MBA 97
Lavanya Reddy, BCEMBA 05
William Johnson, Friend
Jeanne Lew, Staff
Juan Samper, Friend