Obituary: Naidu Permaul, 83, Longtime Resident and Optimist Club Leader

UCLA alum Naidu Permaul, who lived in Pacific Palisades for 49 years and was active in the Optimist Club, passed away on February 20.

After watching the UCLA-Cal basketball game at Pauley Pavilion on February 18, Naidu was driving out of the parking lot when he suffered a heart attack, from which he never regained consciousness.

Jane Permaul, his wife of 54 years, said he had heart disease, and as he aged his heart grew weaker, but his death was sudden and unexpected.

Naidu was born in Aruba on June 11, 1939, to Guy Stanton and Florence (Lawrence) Permaul. The family moved to British Guyana, where he began high school.

His father fought in World War II for the United States and became a naturalized U.S. citizen. The family moved to America and Naidu completed high school in 1957 at Hoover High in Glendale.

He attended UCLA and majored in political science, then did graduate work in medieval history, while working at a UCLA residence hall and UCLA Extension.

Naidu enjoyed sports and was a die-hard BRUIN, having lettered in soccer while a student. He followed the football and men’s basketball teams. He and wife Jane were honored as members of the John Wooden Athletic Fund for 55 years.

While working at the residence hall, Naidu met Jane Szutu in 1964 and they began dating.

In 1966, he started a full-time job as a personnel analyst with the County of Los Angeles. He continued to take on responsibilities in the Human Resources Department, until his retirement in 2000.

Jane and Naidu married in 1967 at his parents’ home in Sunland, California. The couple’s first child, Lawrence, was born in 1972.

The Permauls moved to the Palisades in September 1973, because of the excellent public schools. A second child, Lauren, was born in 1981.

Naidu enjoyed the Palisades community and was a long-time member of the Optimist Club, where he served as president twice. Many feel that Naidu personified what the organization stands for: “To be SO STRONG that nothing can disturb your peace of mind. To talk health, happiness and prosperity to every person you meet. To make all your friends feel that there is something in them. To look at the sunny side of everything and make your optimism come true.”

He made many treasured friends in the club, including the “Fearsome Foursome,” which included Alan Hanson, Chuck McGlothlin and Connie Solum. The four golfed weekly for 20 years.

Naidu also served a term on the Palisades Community Council.

Shortly after retirement, he was introduced to the PLATO Society, which was affiliated with UCLA Extension. He loved the Self Study Groups, leading some and coordinating others. Through PLATO, he made more friends, who also enjoyed scholarly pursuits.

Naidu’s family was important to him. Since his parents passed away some years ago, he was seen as the “patriarch” of the Permaul and Lawrence family that was scattered primarily in the U.S., Canada and England.

He is survived by his wife, Jane, and grown children, Lauren and Larry; his three grandsons, Ethan, Camden and Harrison, and his siblings, Jammel Turner and Nadesan Permaul, and many more cousins, nephews and nieces and their families, not to mention the many “best friends” he had.

He is loved and blessed — and will be missed.

A memorial service is being planned. In lieu of flowers, please contribute to your favorite charity in Naidu’s name.

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25 Responses to Obituary: Naidu Permaul, 83, Longtime Resident and Optimist Club Leader

  1. Bill Snyder says:

    One of Naidu’s many best attributes was in making everyone he talked with feel liked and important. He was a great man, calm and with great humility. Naidu will be long remembered.

  2. Camden Permaul says:

    I am Naidu’s second grandchild. In these recent days I’ve been so lucky and blessed enough to deal with the unbelievable grief of his loss- because it just comes to show how important he was to me and has impacted my life. Hundreds of stories of his social, educational, and moral attributes fill my memories of him. All of which speak to his unique, loved, moral, and overall amazing personality and qualities. One anecdote I wanted to share: when I was little – I legitimately thought my grandpa (Naidu) was as tall as an NBA player. I too recently than I’d like to admit realized that he in fact couldn’t be that tall, yet his presence and the way he carried himself always made him seem larger than life to me. He was my hero and the way he touched and changed my life like sooo many others in ways that could never be written into words. He was my grandfather first – the patriarch and head of our family, but he was also my friend, a hero, a mentor, and so much more to me. I would give anything just to hug him again, but all the strength I have to move on also comes from what I believe he would have wanted for me. My Grandfathers pure-hearted nature, extraordinary knowledge, kindness, and care are the most important things to me of him, something that can never be truly encapsulated in writing, and it’s what I will always remember him for. Everyone who knew him was truly luckier because of it, and that’s what mattered most to me.

  3. Norman Kulla says:

    Great guy…always brought light into every room he entered…a true model citizen as well

  4. Dick Heiser says:

    Naidu was an iconic PLATO member, consciously embracing diverse viewpoints and explicitly reminding us to use our moral sensibilities to be our best selves. We will remember our respect for his leadership and friendship

  5. Bruce Brough says:

    Naidu was one of the best examples of intelligence, grace and personality. He was respected far and wide for being a true Optimist.

  6. Dr. Nadesan Permau says:

    My brother was ten years older than me, and he was the intellectual standard in our family, following in our father’s footsteps. When I graduated from high school, he advised my father that I should apply to either Stanford or Cal, and following in his footsteps, I attended the University of California, and majored in Political Science, earning my B.A., M.A. and PhD at Cal. It was only natural that I would follow an academic course since he was the academic standard in our family. We regularly spoke after our mother passes away as was his self-imposed duty to be the leader of the family. His sensibilities are with me as I teach classes at Berkeley, hoping that I carry his clarity and fairness in my classrooms. We also spoke often of his Bruins treating my long-suffering Golden Bears so harshly in football and men’s basketball. There are so many things I would love to discuss with him, but now will be lost to the inevitability of time and space. Fortunately I have many memories that I can savor, along with his loving family. Somewhere he is listening to the Four Lads and Nat King Cole, resting in eternal peace.

  7. Albert E. Aubin says:

    It was my good fortunate to meet Naidu and Jane in the mid-sixties when they lived in UCLA’s residence halls. I appreciated hearing about Project India from Naidu who had some challenges because Indian students didn’t see him as an American. Jane and I met in Moore Hall during graduate studies. A very special memory for me was when I attended their wonderful 50th wedding anniversary celebration and met their grandchildren. Jane and Naidu traveled internationally with them and enjoyed sharing their lives with Larry and his family. I am pleased that recently I was able to join them for dinner at the Faculty Club with Larry and Lauren. Naidu will be remembered as one of the kindest, calm, and gentle people in my circle and a “True Bruin”.

  8. Mary Petersen says:

    I knew Naidu casually, primarily through interactions at UCLA basketball games. A few years ago I discovered we had both graduated from the same high school in Glendale, where I grew up. Naidu struck a stately figure and was always friendly and gracious–he even drove me to a Dr.’s appointment at UCLA last year and we talked about his engagement in the Plato Society. I will always remember him marching down Sunset Blvd. in the Optimist Society briefcase drill team in our local 4th of July parade. I will miss him.

  9. Shirley & Chih-Ming Ho says:

    Dear Jane:

    With deepest condolences to the loss of Naidu. Our thoughts are with you and your family during this difficult time. May you find comfort in the memories that are yours to cherish always, and strength in the companionship of good friends.

    Shirley & Chih-Ming Ho

  10. harvey Herschman says:

    Jane — First my condolences, and sympathy. I never met Naidu; but saw him frequently on the tiny zoom squares from two different SDGs that I attended (I am a PLATO newby; only one year in…) coincidentally he and I were in two of the four in which I have participated. Naidu was the only person I have encountered in PLATO that I had wished I had gotten to know personally; I was struck by his careful logic, tolerance of other people’s views, carefully constructed arguments — to the points and not ad hominum. It was clear that he was bright and engaging, without being overbearing, and a witty and friendly person. I am VERY sorry I didn’t get to know him, another life regret.

  11. Yoanna & Josh Binder says:

    Dear Jane and Lauren,
    We are so saddened to hear of Naidu’s passing. Naidu was such a ray of light. He was such a kind, wise, cultured, and dignified man. He gave us nothing but love and kindness and we loved spending time with him. We will miss him and send your family love and strength. We love you. May his memory be a blessing.

  12. Alan Hanson says:

    So many great times and joyful memories. Blessed to have been included among Naidu’s best of friends. A consummate diplomat, exceptional knowledge (could have done well on Jeopardy), an effective leader and fun golfer. Marilyn and I have had the good fortune to be close friends since 1965. Our first outing together was a Harry Belafonte concert at the Greek Theater. The first of many memorable times growing up and growing older knowing that we were there for for each other if needed. A wonderful awesome friend who will be greatly missed and forever remembered. Alan & Marilyn

  13. Ruthie & Barry Binder says:

    Naidu & Jane have been part of our family for over 20 years. We shared holidays, birthdays, weddings, going to the UCLA games and many happy & sad occasions. But most importantly, we share the same wonderful grandchildren, Ethan, Camden and Harrison.

    Naidu was always a kind and very thoughtful person. He cared about the people around him and in his gentle way would share in their interest and experiences.

    But most of all he was a loving husband, father and grandfather and he always put his family first. He was always there and gave his all his love for his family.

    Jane, Lauren, Ethan, Camden and Harrison, we share in your sorrow and we hope that you take comfort in the happy memories that you shared.

  14. David Borgeson says:

    Many years ago, I was an AYSO soccer coach and had the privilege of coaching
    Naidu’s son, Larry. Naidu was always at every game and a calming influence for me. He never mentioned that he had lettered in soccer at UCLA.

    As the years went by, I occasionally would run into Naidu around town. He was such a gentleman warm, friendly, and caring. He will be missed and my condolences to his

  15. Eileen (Portnoy) Granfors says:

    Naidu and Jane became our friends through our association with UCLA basketball and LA County personnel. Most importantly, though, our eldest children were born within 24 hours of one another! Larry Permaul and my daughter Alisha Portnoy, became the next generation of friendships. We always welcomed a visit with the Permauls even as our family grew and locations changed.

    Naidu’s genuine wisdom, exuberant laugh, and true friendship will be deeply missed.

  16. Ron Portnoy says:

    I first met Naidu in 1969 when I went to work for LA County Department of Personnel (now called Human Resources). We became friends and shared many a day playing poker, golf, taking trips to the Santa Anita race track, and even camping where I told him to pitch his tent so his head faced north. I think he believed me. He was my supervisor at work for several years and was a great mentor, not only in the nuances of Human Resources but of life as well.

    Naidu and I shared our love of Bruin athletics. I would often come down to Naidu and Jane’s seats at halftime of Bruin basketball games, tell them that the game had already been played and that we simply were watching a replay on a giant screen. I then told them what the final score would be. Everyone laughed until the day I guessed the exact final score.

    Naidu was a good friend and a fine man. I will miss him.

  17. Alisha Portnoy Woodroof says:

    My memories of Naidu are from when I was a little girl, maybe 6 years old to about 11 or 12. My dad was very good friends with him and we would go to UCLA basketball games together. I loved going down to see Naidu at halftime with my dad. He had such a calm and kind presence. I felt safe and seen around him. He always took the time to ask me about my interests and how I was doing. Even as a little kid, I knew this was a special person. As I reflect back on that part of my life some 45 years ago, it was some of my happiest childhood memories. UCLA basketball games with my dad, Naidu, and Larry. My condolences to the family.

  18. Rajammal Turner says:

    I have so many fond memories of our family outings and gatherings, too many to mention. Naidu is my older brother and as it was intended, he had the authority to reprimand us at any time, one look was all it took! He was very thoughtful and kind to me as his only sister and teased me constantly. I will always be grateful to him for making time to see my second daughter at least once a month and taking time to speak with her about her life. All my children enjoyed him as I did. I last spoke with him on February 16th and we were laughing about some pictures of him as a child. Our conversations were mostly about our extended families and friends. I will truly miss him, but I know he is in a better place now and will see him again. My husband Theo and I send our love to Jane, Lauren, Larry and family,

  19. Rosemary Plue says:

    So good to read all the good things about Naidu. I send my simpathy and like the above comment “May his memory be a blessing”.

  20. Marilyn Silver says:

    I will miss my old friend Naidu. From our days in Personnel to our post retirement lunches, I enjoyed his company and his kindness. May his memory be as a blessing.
    Deepest sympathy to his family.

  21. Marilyn Silver says:

    I will miss my old friend Naidu. From our days in Personnel to our post retirement lunches, I enjoyed his company and his kindness. May his memory be as a blessing.
    Deepest sympathy to his family.

  22. Bill Lynes says:

    I, too, am lucky to have known Naidu. I met him in the early 1970s while working for the Los Angeles County Department of Personnel where we both started our careers with the County. We worked on many projects over the years, participated in many “spirited” (as Naidu would say) policy discussions, and forged a great friendship in the process. I am so very grateful to be able to say that Naidu was my friend.

    As has been mentioned by others, Naidu brought a level of dignity, kindness, and clear headed thinking to everything he did. He also brought a great sense of humor to the job, and we all appreciated that. The man was brilliant and humble – qualities you don’t always see together. We got to talk about many things over time. He spoke of Jane, his children and grandchildren, the Bruins, golf, and political happenings among other things, but he never talked about his own accomplishments. I had no idea he lettered in soccer at UCLA and I worked with him for close to thirty years. He just didn’t talk about himself in that way. His humility, however, did not get in the way of his being an effective advocate on important matters when effective advocacy was needed. He was always at the ready and more than able when it came to making a case against doing anything that was less than logical or less than fair. And, he always did it with dignity.

    Naidu taught me a lot that helped me both on and off the job. All I had to do was watch Naidu be Naidu and I couldn’t help but learn. Following his retirement and then mine, we didn’t talk as frequently. But, when we did, it was like no time had passed at all. He was that kind of friend. I was lucky to know him and I will miss him greatly.

  23. Joanne Iwasaki says:

    I met Naidu in 1973 while working for the Los Angeles County Department of Personnel. We became fast friends and created so many wonderful memories during numerous lunches and work breaks. Our memories continued to grow and extended into our retirement years during golf games, emails about cats and dogs, phone conversations, and lunches. I had lunch with him just 13 days prior to February 20th when we reminisced about random memories we shared over the past 50 years. I am so grateful to have spent time with him.

    Naidu was a special person to me. A gentle soul. A true and honest friend who was compassionate, considerate, and principled. I will miss him deeply but cherish 50 years of heartfelt memories. I send my sincerest condolences to Jane, Larry, Lauren and family.

  24. Linda Pellerito says:

    How sad I am to finally discover what happened to Naidu Permaul – I worked with him at LA County/Dept of Personnel. He was incredibly kind to everyone and had a calmness about him that we all wished we had. I was only in the same office area for a few years before I left for an airline job and moved to Chicago but I never forgot him. Every so often I would key in his name in a search – because he was just such an unforgettable person. He undoubtedly made this impact with many, many others. I just knew he would make a huge positive impact with those lucky enough to have encountered him in their life. So good to know he had the rich life and family he deserved. I still…will never forget him. An Optimist….indeed.

  25. Alf Schonbach says:

    I only recently learned of Naidu’s passing. I immediately felt as if a bright light was extinguished from my soul. A mentor to me when I joined the Dept. of Personnel in the early 70s, Naidu always found the time to listen to my questions, jokes, and all matters insignificant. He was always dressed in crisply pressed shirts and suits, always with the perfect tie.

    “Naidu you clown!” was a cry he often uttered on the golf course after another errant shot. In fact, Naidu was no one’s clown. He was smart, humble, liked by all, and a gentleman. I can state that one significant reason why I enjoyed working in D.O.P. was to share work hours with Naidu (and hearing that infectious laugh). I will miss the man.

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