Reeve Chudd Pens ‘May the 4th Be with You’
Speaking to Reeve Chudd, this year’s Fourth of July parade theme winner was fun—because he loves puns, he loves the Palisades and he was thrilled his theme “May the 4th Be with You” was chosen. It was the first time he had ever entered this contest.
“When I was 11 years old, I entered a contest to create a new slogan for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes,” he said. “You’ll be feeling well-y with Kellogg’s in your belly.
“It didn’t win,” Chudd said—but this time was different.
Members of the Palisades Americanism Parade Association (PAPA) voted on more than 40 parade theme entries at their meeting on April 8.
The top six vote-getters were then ranked first, second and third, and PAPA Treasurer Daphne Gronich tabulated the results. Chudd was notified on April 15.
He was thrilled to learn that the competition was so stiff. “Forty themes? That’s great,” he said, but admitted that he thought people would have liked his second entry better about a unified community.
He was assured that this snappy theme was preferred by PAPA volunteers.
“It’s a joke/pun that I used about 20 years ago,” Chudd said. “I sent it to my brother, but it’s a fun pun. I like puns.”
Chudd also admitted, “I torture my partner with puns.” He’s an attorney with Ervin Cohen & Jessup in Beverly Hills.
Working with trusts and estates, Chudd said, “I specialize in death and taxes,” and then joked, “I like old people–and now I’m one of them. Now I represent people younger than me.”
He grew up in Los Angeles, in Cheviot Hills. Just before his 14th birthday, his parents were going through a divorce and sent him to the Williston Academy, a boarding high school in Easthampton, Massachusetts [now Williston Northhampton School]. “We wore ties and jackets seven days a week and attended classes six days a week,” he said.
Chudd earned a bachelor’s degree in economics and a master’s in accounting from The Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania—and also received a bachelor’s degree in English.
He moved back to Los Angeles and worked for Arthur Anderson for about three years, before attending law school at USC. He graduated in 1980, but while in school, he worked part-time with his current firm, which was originally a tax-law firm.
Chudd and his wife, Marian Mann, moved to Pacific Palisades in 1984. He adopted his stepdaughter Sarah Mann. His grandson, Jerry, attends Palisades High School, where Chudd is on the Board of Trustees.
“I don’t have a lot of experience with public education,” he said. “But numbers are my friends. When it comes to finances, I’m shocked at how we [at PaliHi] have to pinch pennies.”
For example, in order to help keep the fiscally-independent charter school diverse, students are bused in, but must pay the cost. “They keep raising the cost of busing,” Chudd said, noting that since Palisades is an outlier, there is no bidding competition for the routes. “They charge what they charge.”
“I’m learning. I’m a neophyte,” Chudd said. “But I’m on the board because I believe that education is the only place for kids to find opportunity and escape poverty. Public school needs to improve and thrive in order to even the playing field with those who attend private schools.”
As far as the Fourth of July festivities in Pacific Palisades, Chudd said he ran in the Will Rogers 5/10K about 30 years ago, but now serves in a support role. “They run by our house and we stand outside and wave the flag and talk to people we know.”
He has been in the parade several times, walking in the Patriotic Pups brigade with his 15-year-old standard poodle Cathelina “named by my grandson when he could barely speak.”
But now, “I call her my area rug because she lays on the floor and sleeps most of the time.” He admits that the dog still seems excited about going to the little dog park in the Huntington Palisades, but on the way home, “she’s almost too tired to walk.”
Chudd emphasizes that he’s not one of the scofflaws who put out their chairs three days early along the parade route, and that he and his family vary their parade-watching routine.
“We sometimes go to Sunset and Carey and watch it, or some years we buy a seat in the stands [in the Ralphs parking lot],” he said.
This year will be different because the theme winner rides atop the Fire Station 69 hook & ladder truck. Hopefully, Marian and Jerry will join him as the rig travels the parade route—and if not, “Marian will make my grandson go to the corner and wave.”
“I love the Palisades,” he said. “This is an incredible neighborhood and a wonderful community. Everyone wants to live here, but only a few can anymore because people can’t afford it.”