SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — For 30 years, Efren Bernal painted San Francisco’s world-famous cable cars. The longtime artist died from cancer this week.
“Yesterday, my dad passed away peacefully,” Mariel Bernal Perales, Bernal’s daughter told CBS 5 on Friday. Perales and her sisters went through their father’s things from his Muni locker, including paintbrushes and stencils.
Bernal was diagnosed with cancer only a few months ago.
Painting the cable cars was the only job he could find after immigrating to the United States. Family told CBS 5 he was even turned down for a fast food job.
Undeterred he kept looking. “He heard about the San Francisco Civil Services,” Perales said.
Bernal got the job with the city as a painter. Even when he filled out applications, his talent was evident.
“His penmanship really stood out, it looked like it was in print,” Perales said.
The painter put his creative skills to work on the internationally famous icons. “What my dad did was the finer details, like the designs, the etching,” Perales said.
His long run ended with the painting of Cable Car no. 26, which Bernal signed.
“He truly is part of San Francisco,” Perales said.
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