At 5:45 a.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, Agoura lost a brother and a friend.
Just two days before his 92nd birthday, Calamigos Ranch founder J. Grant Gerson passed away at his home on Cornell Road in Agoura.
Calamigos, according to Gerson, means, "Come as my brother, come as my friend." The 130 acre multi-recreational facility, summer camp and conference center had humble beginnings.
As a young boy, participation in the Boy Scouts of America shaped Gerson's life forever. After an engineering career and Navy service, Gerson directed camp organizations, including the YMCA. Gerson's dream was to pay it forward - to enrich the lives of young boys as was his own, through camping. Hence, in 1949, Gerson purchased 15 acres off Mulholland in Malibu Canyon and christened the original Calamigos Ranch.
Grant Gerson remained the heart of the organization. He embodied the principles he taught his campers: reverence, loyalty, honesty, self-reliance and sportsmanship.
Rarely seen without his bolo tie and cowboy hat, Gerson rode his horse well into his eighties. He was bestowed with numerous awards for his service to the community.
Gerson is survived by his wife Ruth Gerson, director of REC - Recreation and Equestrian Coalition, and his son Glen Gerson, who manages Calamigos Ranch.