Now Playing

Photo courtesy of Skyhorse Publishing

Looking back on being ahead of his time

James C. Hormel takes stock of 37 years of his do-a-lot, do-good life.

Most people around here are familiar with San Francisco resident James C. Hormel’s biggest coup: In 1999, he became the nation’s highest-ranking openly gay official when he was made ambassador to Luxembourg. But his new memoir, Fit to Serve, shows him to be a man of much wider philanthropic and political accomplishment, both in the Bay Area and on the national scene. (Some stories get personal, too: When Bill Clinton once admired his leopard-print tie at a reception, Hormel took it off and gave it to him.) The charming and savvy Hormel is still a bit of a man about town, serving on boards, working on the occasional political campaign, and attending galas, often with his twentysomething boyfriend. (“Our running joke was that he was a sophomore; I was a senior,” Hormel writes with characteristic self-deprecating humor.) Here, a highlight reel of his life and times.