Subscribe to San Francisco Magazine

Mod Lux Feeds

Now Playing

Photo courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing

Looking back on being ahead of his time

James C. Hormel takes stock of 37 years of his do-a-lot, do-good life.

Most people around here are familiar with San Francisco resident James C. Hormel’s biggest coup: In 1999, he became the nation’s highest-ranking openly gay official when he was made ambassador to Luxembourg. But his new memoir, Fit to Serve, shows him to be a man of much wider philanthropic and political accomplishment, both in the Bay Area and on the national scene. (Some stories get personal, too: When Bill Clinton once admired his leopard-print tie at a reception, Hormel took it off and gave it to him.) The charming and savvy Hormel is still a bit of a man about town, serving on boards, working on the occasional political campaign, and attending galas, often with his twentysomething boyfriend. (“Our running joke was that he was a sophomore; I was a senior,” Hormel writes with characteristic self-deprecating humor.) Here, a highlight reel of his life and times.