Eichler vs. Eichler - Page 4

Despite a domineering father he battled head-to-head, Ned Eichler forged his own path—beyond Eichler Homes

Ned's next business was the Eichler Corp., which he ran in the Bay Area from 1982 through 1995, providing mortgages to owners of large apartment buildings. He pioneered second mortgages for apartment owners, allowing them to free up capital for expansion.

Ned, who retired in 1995, lives with his wife, Ava, in a Tiburon home with a view of San Francisco Bay. The home is of no definable style. "Personally I'm kind of a minimalist in design," he said, "but I have no great personal affection for Eichler homes or modern architecture in general."

When he reflects on his life, which he does often, Ned regrets not having studied history at Columbia University (though years later he took all the courses required for a history Ph.D. at UC Berkeley), and not having lived a more intellectual life.

But his friends remember a man who gloried in the challenges he faced. "Ned is the kind of person that needs new challenges all the time," Krinsky said. "When he starts a new challenge I think he's very happy."

Koskinen remembers Ned talking about his father with respect, not rancor. "In a lot of ways Ned was happy accomplishing things on his own and making his own name," Koskinen said. "He always struck me as a guy very comfortable with himself and not driven by the shadows of what might have been or should have been."

Photos: David Toerge, Ernie Braun, Gordon Peters; and courtesy Oakland + Imada, San Francisco Chronicle, American Builder magazine