Everett Maguire Had a Huge Impact on Pacific Palisades

An American Legion Post 283 member, Everett Maguire spoke to Palisades Elementary students about his military service.           Photo: Shelby Pascoe

At Age 91, He Passed This Morning at His Home in Town

(Editor’s note: Circling the News received word this morning that long-time Palisadian Everett Maguire, 91, died this morning, September 4, surrounded by family. According to Community United Methodist Church pastor Dr. Wayne Walters, a celebration of Everett’s life will be held in the future. “I look forward to this celebration where we will recall things he did, the nature of his interaction and investment with others, and our faith that reminds us that life does not end with our physical death but instead our spirits are united with those who have gone before us.” In a 2014 feature article, Laurel Busby wrote about the town stalwart and we reprint it below.)

By LAUREL BUSBY

Legion Post 283 and Pacific Palisades lucked out when Everett Maguire moved to town with his wife and young family.

Since that day in 1963, he has volunteered many thousands of hours to Post 283, the Palisades-Malibu YMCA, the Palisades Methodist Church, and the Riviera Masonic Lodge. His efforts within these organizations have not only increased their fiscal health, but also had effects throughout the community.

He worked to create numerous scholarships for Palisades High School graduates and helped establish yearly grants to all of the local public schools. In addition, the surplus income from property leases has allowed Post 283 to provide vital funding for veterans’ needs, which has helped veterans throughout California.

For Maguire, giving to others is an essential part of who he is. “I think that’s why we’re on this earth,” he said. “Everyone has the same important event—your birth and the same important question. Why? We spend our life answering that question. We’re on this earth for a purpose, and it’s not just to take care of ourselves.”

Maguire, who joined Post 283 in 1978, moved to the Palisades from Mar Vista, where he was already active in the Santa Monica Masonic Lodge and Westwood Methodist Church. However, he gradually moved his volunteer work to the Palisades, and over the years, he continued to give his time to organizations that he felt focused on positive work in the community.

A construction attorney who was stationed in Virginia during the Korean War, Maguire used his contract work expertise garnered from years working both at CalTrans and his own firm to inform pro bono legal work for four local organizations.

“Leases are contracts, which need to be reasonable and certain,” the 1957 UCLA Law School graduate stated.

For the Legion, his work has meant a steady influx of cash. Post 283 owns its building and the adjacent post office and CVS property, but when Maguire joined, the Legion did not yet have much money and had a mortgage on its property. In 1988, he first renegotiated one of the associated leases, which involved taking the renters’ appraisals and investigating them himself. Over the years, he often discovered that an appraiser had undervalued a property, and he would create a more accurate assessment, which led to increased rent for Post 283.

He also does the same for the Palisades Methodist church, which in 1979 inherited a 50 percent interest in Charles Lundquist’s property along Sunset, stretching from One West Bank to Party Pizazz. All in all, the church rents five stores, the bank and nine offices on its property, which it has fully owned since 2005.

For Post 283, the increased rental income has been substantial. In 1988, Maguire first negotiated leases that changed the post office’s rent from $16,000 per year to $27,000 per month. In 2001, he renegotiated Albertson’s Sav-On Drugs lease to $37,000 a month from a fluctuating lease that provided $6,000 to $12,000 per month. The negotiations have continued over the years, and now, the leases bring the Legion nearly $1.5 million per year in revenue.

This money has allowed the Post to become a substantial giver in the greater community. For example, the Fisher House now provides temporary homes for the families of veterans receiving care at the Westwood V.A. But before it was built, a three-year search failed to raise 50 percent of the cost required to build the structure and thus receive the matching funds for its construction.

Post 283 chose to pay for half of the $4.3 million cost, allowing the house to become a reality. The V.A. hospital also sometimes sends a wish list of needed items, and Post 283 has been able to provide via donations up to $100,000 each year.

In the Palisades, the Post’s largess has brought scholarships to students and grants to public schools, an endeavor that Maguire spearheaded. “I’ve always pushed education,” he said. “That’s how you get ahead.” His three children, Nanette, Will and Connie, all have master’s degrees.

The Legion now gives out 20, $2,000 college scholarships to PaliHi and Malibu High graduating students—all of the applicants must have had a relative in the U.S. military and at least a 3.0 GPA.  In addition, the five Palisades public schools receive annual checks ranging from $4,000 to $15,000.

“I made the Post a lot of money,” Maguire said. “The opposite side of that is there are a lot of people who want to join and have input on how to spend that money.”

Part of that increased membership is attributed to another Maguire effort. When he became Post 1st vice commander in 2000, he spearheaded a membership drive with prizes that enticed record participation. The Post grew from 377 members to 560 that year. Membership is now at about 600 members.

Over the years, Maguire’s work has brought him various accolades. He won the Los Angeles Metropolitan YMCA’s Golden Book of Distinguished Service Award in 1990.

For the Palisades-Malibu Y, in the preceding years, he had negotiated an additional one acre (the property’s frontage along Sunset) to its existing 3-acre option to purchase the Pumpkin Patch/Christmas tree lot in Temescal Gateway Park.

The following year, he won the Golden Sparkplug Award from the Pacific Palisades Community Council. In addition, he received the Hiram Award from the Santa Monica Masons in 1987. He has worked in numerous capacities for both the Riviera Masonic Lodge and the Santa Monica Masonic Lodge over the years, including tenure as master of the lodge for both lodges.

In addition, he spent 10 years as the president of the Methodist Church Administrative Council and has held all offices on its Board of Trustees and Foundation. He has also held numerous positions at Post 283.

Amidst all this volunteer work, Maguire also amassed a 43-year legal career and was awarded the Flaig award in 2005 by his fellow construction attorneys to honor his exemplary work in construction law.

But his proudest achievement is his family. He met his wife Nancy on a blind date while stationed in Virginia, and they married in 1951. The couple now has five grandchildren in their 20s, including the oldest grandson, who recently passed the bar exam to become an attorney like his grandfather.

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