Don Wehr, owner of Santa Rosa furniture store and San Francisco music store, dies at 74
Don Wehr became known to Santa Rosa radio listeners as “the liquidator,” the owner of Office Furniture World, a Santa Rosa Avenue store that buys and resells used desks, chairs and file cabinets.
But that was Wehr’s second business. In the 1960s he owned a San Francisco music store that sold instruments and other products to such popular Bay Area bands as Santana and Journey.
Wehr died Saturday in a Marin County hospital at the age of 74. He was diagnosed three months earlier with lung cancer.
“He was all about enjoying life,” said his daughter, Donna Wehr, of Marin County.
Wehr loved being with family and friends, she said. He also enjoyed running his furniture business.
“He was very active and very smart and he was constantly thinking about his next deal,” she said.
Wehr was born in Honolulu. He came to San Francisco at about the age of 10.
During his boyhood, his mother, Anita Wehr, now of Marin County, operated a bar in North Beach. Wehr’s family lived above the business.
After high school, Wehr attended City College of San Francisco. A talented drummer, he taught drum lessons and performed in the city’s nightclubs.
In 1965, he opened Don Wehr’s Music City. He operated the business for the next 15 years.
During that period, Wehr listened to lots of talented local bands in concert and sold instruments to some of them. A highlight for him of that era was attending the 1969 Woodstock music festival.
“He really liked Santana and Sly and the Family Stone,” his daughter recalled.
In 1980, Wehr moved to Santa Rosa and bought a general store.
Before long “he saw a big demand for office furniture, for used office furniture,” his daughter said.
In his radio ads, he explained that he bought furniture from companies that were leaving town or going out of business, making it possible to buy the items “for pennies on the wholesale dollar.”
Outside of business, Wehr was a vintage car enthusiast and owned a black Rolls Royce from the early 1960s. Over the years, he owned more than 20 race horses, including many that competed at the Sonoma County Fair.
Along with his daughter and mother, survivors include a son, Bo Wehr of Marin County; siblings Vaughn Wehr, Tom Wehr, Camille Tarantino, Allen Wehr and Nicole Wehr, who all live in Northern California; and two grandchildren.
His family is planning a celebration of his life sometime this summer.