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Co-founder of long-running SF live music venue has died

Tim Benetti | Courtesy Bottom of the Hill

Tim Benetti, a co-founder of the San Francisco club Bottom of the Hill, died on Jan. 11. Staff from the Potrero Hill music venue shared the news and their remembrances via Instagram on Tuesday. He was 58.

Benetti was born and raised in an Italian American family in the Portola neighborhood of San Francisco, according to the post. He graduated from UC Hastings School of Law alongside Vice President Kamala Harris.

The staff wrote that Benetti suffered a major injury in a car accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down in the year after he finished law school. Lynn Schwarz, a longtime business partner at Bottom of the Hill, said that Benetti died from ongoing health complications arising from his spinal injury.

Tim Benetti | Courtesy Bottom of the Hill

“In the face of what would be insurmountable adversity for most, Tim met the ensuing lifelong challenges with grace and strength that were inspiring to witness,” the staff wrote. “His resilience and unwillingness to yield to any limitations made him outlast all predictions for his life’s scope and length.”

The news was followed by an outpouring of support from longtime club patrons and other followers. “Thank you for this lovely commemoration, telling us more about Tim, and for staying truly Bottom of the Hill,” a user named carriesisto wrote.

Previously an Edwardian saloon, then a restaurant and a soda fountain, the club was purchased by Benetti in 1990, and he renamed it Bottom of the Hill in 1991. In the early 1990s, he began booking local punk and rock bands, and the restaurant transformed into a full-time music venue.

“More than a business partner and one of its founders, he was a dear friend and mentor and a big part of this crazy family,” the staff wrote.

Kathleen Owen, a partner in the business, told The Standard she believes the community will remember Benetti’s generous spirit.

“He had this charisma that everyone noticed when they first met him. He was like a magnet,” she said. “You could never walk more than a block down the street without someone recognizing him.”

Bottom of the Hill will host a public celebration of Benetti’s life on April 16 at 1 p.m.