A "Celebration of Life" was held at Calamigos Ranch on January 25 in honor of ranch-founder J. Grant Gerson who passed away at his Agoura Hills home on Dec. 6.
Nearly 600 people, including local and state dignitaries, turned out to pay tribute to the western pioneer.
Gerson's wife Ruth, children and grandchildren addressed the crowd as did long-time friends and former campers, some dating back to the 40's and 50's.
People travelled from all over the country to participate, according to step-daughter Susan Morris.
"The outpouring of love and support at the Celebration of Life was a true testament to Grant’s legacy of compassion and humanity, reverence for nature and his positive outlook on life," said Morris. "He was an inspiration in the life of all those he touched."
Born in Los Angeles in 1920, Gerson attended UCLA and later served in the Navy.
Gerson initially purchased 15 acres in Malibu in 1947 and founded Calamigos Covered Wagon Club, a boy’s travel camp. In 1948, he established Calamigos Ranch and became chairman of the board. Since then, the ranch has expanded to 125 acres and remains a prime destination for weddings, parties, corporate events and children's camp.
Camp Summertime, which operates on the property, is a popular summer camp for kids from all over Los Angeles.
Gerson co-founded the Santa Monica Mountains Trails Council in 1972.
He was involved in the American Camping Association and the Western Association of Independent Camps, even after his retirement.
Attached is the slide show that played during the event.