John Kane, owner of Kane’s restaurant, died this week from complications with a surgical operation, according to a family friend.
Joe Hevia, a longtime friend of Kane’s and an account executive with KNCO radio, said he heard Kane, 59, died from complications with a back operation he was undergoing in San Diego. Word began to circulate over the weekend that Kane had died during the operation Thursday.
His partner, Maria Ramos, owner of Maria’s restaurant in Grass Valley, was with Kane, Hevia said.
“It’s tragic,” Hevia said. “He was just a great guy and a great friend.”
Julia Jordan, executive director of the Grass Valley Downtown Association, said Kane was a generous man and an active member of the community who will be greatly missed.
“It really is truly sad, and we wish Maria and her family all the best, and we’re here for them,” she said.
Kane was a fourth-generation San Franciscan and worked at Original Joe’s as a kid for many years, he said in a previous interview.
He worked as an executive chef for corporate hotels and was a personal chef to celebrities such as Bill Cosby, Sammy Davis Jr. and Jay Leno, according to the Kane’s website.
He was also a chef of the San Francisco Giants from 2003 to 2007 and president of the Chefs Association of the Pacific Coast.
Kane met his life and business partner Ramos while he was Corporate Chef of US Food Co.
He wanted to open a restaurant with a similar San Francisco feel to Original Joe’s with an exhibition-style kitchen where guests could watch the cooking process and offer Italian-American cuisine, and Kane’s was opened in 2006.
He worked on renovating the restaurant for two years and unveiled the five-month improvements just last month.
Jordan recounted moments with Kane when they laughed and discussed the renovation plans.
“I was just there the other day talking about the great remodel and how wonderful it was to see that in downtown because it made a real big difference,” she said. “I’m really glad it was finished before he passed, so he got to see what it would look like.”
Kane was a supporter of local organizations, having hosted the annual Penny Pitch with KNCO for six years, which supported United Way for its first four years and the Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Coalition the past two years.
The sixth annual event transpired just last weekend, when $5,000 was raised for the organization.
Gayle Guest-Brown, the DVSAC executive director, said Kane was a big man with a big heart.
“He was a fun-loving guy, and we’re going to miss him a lot,” she said.
Guest-Brown said Kane was always willing to help, offered his restaurant space for meetings and hosted a welcome party when she moved to the area to take her position with the DVSAC.
“He was a friend to the DVSAC, always doing what he could for us. It’s a huge tragedy, and our prayers go out to Maria and his family.”
A memorial service will be hosted 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at the Grass Valley Veteran’s Memorial Building at 255 S Auburn St., said family representative Rick Tracewell.
*Changes to the story were made to reflect that John and Maria were life and business partners and not married, and details of the memorial service were added.
To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email email@example.com or call 530-477-4230.