George Magill Pardee, Jr., an influential home builder in Pacific Palisades and beyond, passed away peacefully at his home in San Diego on February 23 at the age of 87. He was a man of many parts: a tremendously successful businessman; a leader in local and national community and youth organizations; a patron of the arts; a bon vivant and lover of people and fine things; and a loving husband, father and grandfather. George Jr. formed Pardee Construction Company in 1946 with his father and his brother Hoyt. His brother, J. Douglas Pardee, joined the company two years later. When George retired from Pardee Construction Company on his 65th birthday, the company had built and sold more than 27,000 homes in California and Nevada. As a result of George’s work in the early 1950s as a vestryman at St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church in the Palisades, and the church’s need for a location to build a new church and parish school, a partnership was organized consisting of the church, Gifford Phillips (as the financial backer) and Pardee Construction Company. The partnership purchased a 70-acre estate in the area of what is now Bienveneda Avenue. The church’s portion was 30 acres and an existing large house on the property. The partnership developed houses on the balance of the property. This was Pardee’s first venture into for-sale housing. George was a longtime resident of the Palisades before he moved to Marina del Rey in the late 1960s. His brothers Hoyt and J. Douglas both lived in the Palisades until more recently. George loved boats and the sea. He spent time at Catalina Island almost every summer of his life, and had owned boats since he built a 15-foot sailboat at age 18. His last yacht was an 85-foot power cruiser. He was a member of the San Diego Yacht Club, the California Yacht Club, and the Catalina Island Yacht Club. The Boy Scouts of America was one of the strongest influences on George’s life and character. He joined the Boy Scouts on his 12th birthday, in 1928, and remained a registered scout for the rest of his life. As an adult, George was active for many years in the Western Los Angeles County Council and was president of the council for eight years. In the early 1970s, he donated the funds to construct the Pardee Sea Scout Base, located at Marina del Rey. He also generously contributed to the Emerald Bay scout camp on Catalina, which is now known as the George and Katherine Pardee Camp Emerald Bay. George contributed expertise and funds to many other nonprofit organizations over the years. These included American Humanics (an organization promoting educational programs for professionals wanting to go into youth leadership careers); the San Diego Museum of Art; the Mingei Museum; Scripps Clinic; Eisenhower Medical Center; St. Vincent de Paul; and the University of San Diego, whose campus houses the Katherine and George Pardee Legal Research Center. In 1967, George married Katherine Mae Newton; they shared a great romance for 35 years. Kathy was a member of the Catholic Church, and in 1978 George also became a Catholic. As with every other organization with which he was affiliated during his lifetime, George took a leadership role in the church, joining the Knights of the Holy Sepulcher, a Catholic organization dedicated to preserving Christian sites in the Holy Land. Kathy and George traveled widely, once circumnavigating the globe in 30 days. They had many friends, and often entertained at their houses in La Jolla and Indian Wells. Sadly, however, Kathy passed away in February 2002. While George was devastated by this loss, he managed to maintain his native optimism, and continued to enjoy life right up to the time of his final illness, two weeks before his death. George Pardee will be remembered for his honesty and integrity. He ran his whole life according to the Boy Scout oath. Although he was quiet and soft-spoken, his words were persuasive because his trustworthiness and good intentions were always evident to others. He loved people, particularly young people, as his involvement with so many youth-oriented organizations attests. He inspired others to do their best in their endeavors and to join him in giving back to their communities. In addition to his brothers Hoyt and J. Douglas Pardee, George is survived by his children from his first marriage to Marian Andrews: Anne Koch, Carolyn Beahrs, John Pardee and Neal Pardee, and nine grandchildren. A memorial service was held on February 28 at UC San Diego. The family requests that, instead of flowers, donations be sent to the University of San Diego in memory of George Pardee, or to a favorite charity.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.