San Francisco Global Trade Council

Harry Orbelian

My father was the last of the traditional management to leave GUMP’S, when in 1978 he was invited to develop and lead the International Department of the San Francisco Chamber of Commerce. After close to 15 years of extensive world travel and major events, including hosting President Gorbachev’s 1990 visit to San Francisco (for which Bill Stewart and I collaborated on creating a custom surfboard for President Gorbachev), my father left to start the San Francisco Global Trade Council in 1992. Throughout the years of my father’s involvement with international trade and cultural exchange, he developed so many close friendships that they transitioned to “brotherhood” or “sisterhood” depending on the gender. My brother, my dear brother, my wonderful brother, were typical greetings my dad would share when on the phone or moving through a room. My dad’s brain connected to a phone line was the original internet. He was in contact with Mayor George Christopher, and communications technology pioneer and San Francisco Waldorf School founder, Henry Dakin on virtually a daily basis. After Harry’s passing in 2006, I made sure his creation, the SFGTC lived on and continue to be involved as a member of the Board of Directors. I remain committed to sharing the solutions we have now that can make this planet a paradise for everyone; smart phone technology can share, enable and empower the evolution of life in new, positive directions at the scale necessary to achieve significant change.

Richard Gump

I have had a lifetime of involvement with international trade, first through the association my father and I shared with GUMP’S, as Richard Gump and my father were very close friends. In 1954, Mr. Gump had Hawaiian Hula dancers perform at my Christening ceremony when he became my Godfather. Richard Gump was a big influence in my life, he took me to my first baseball game, shared an interest in herpetology, nautical architecture, history, guns, music, and art. He was an author and his keen interest in history gave him a special appreciation of indigenous people, their practical wisdom, ingenuity, appreciation of / ability to work with nature, and cultural development. He taught me how to watercolor, and when I was eleven years old, invited me to his home in Moorea, Tahiti, where he had a very deep relationship with the families he shared life with.

Eleanor Forbes

Eleanor Forbes was a top designer for Gump’s that I was lucky enough to meet with and be inspired by. I also had the fortune of spending time and sharing my ceramics with John Wheatman, who reinforced, in his own way, the tranquil seeds of Oriental aesthetic beauty planted by Richard Gump, his store, and Eleanor Forbes.

Cook’s Bay

I have photos of the Bounty entering Cook’s bay that he took from the beautiful retreat above Cook’s Bay that he built and later donated to the U.C. Berkeley as a marine biology research center. He enjoyed the nickname, “Captain Bligh”, even signing a simple watercolor we did together with that name.

Tree of Knowledge

I remember every conversation with him as an adventure in discovering what triggered curiosity – which would always lead to learning more about a subject and ultimately finding that nothing was in a silo – everything was connected to a web of developments that was somehow connected to everything else. Conversations with Richard Gump would start and then continually branch off on associated subjects until you truly had a glimpse of the “Tree of Knowledge.” The store itself was exquisitely designed and appointed. I’ll never forget the many times I would wander around the empty store after closing, walking up the central stairway past portraits of the Gump’s family legacy, on my way to the third floor, where I would then come into the presence of a huge golden Buddha that seemed to embrace me in its aura.