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NBHS Profile 2015

Gordon William Grundy

As a lifelong advocate of his hometown Newport Beach, Gordon William “Bill” Grundy was a founder and president of the Newport Beach Historical Society for 42 years.

Grundy was born February 20, 1924. His father, Gordon Milton Grundy, was the first doctor in Newport Beach and was credited with saving the city from the 1918 influenza pandemic. As the town’s obstetrician, the scores of new citizens became known as “Grundy Babies.”

After attending Newport Elementary, Bill Grundy graduated from Newport Harbor High School in 1941 where he participated in most sports and excelled at track and basketball. Old friend Darren McGavren says, “Bill was a good track man who ran the quarter mile for coach Reed. He had long legs. He could go!”

The tall redhead served in the U.S. Navy on a minesweeper and submarine during World War II. While training at Cal Tech in sonar studies, he played football for the Navy team.

After the war, Grundy earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering from USC and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration. Active in many groups, Grundy was a member of the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity and the Trojan Knights. At USC, he found an institution, which would bring him great joy and a lifetime of passionate involvement. There, he met his sweetheart Audrey who he later married in 1951. At the time of his death in 2010, Grundy was serving as a Board Member of the Half Century Trojans.

After college, he found work in Newport Beach as an engineer for Beckman Instruments and Hughes Aircraft. As a sales manager for the Irvine Co. from 1967 to 1969, Grundy was influential in the development of Linda Isle and personally sold off all the lots on the island. In the Seventies, he opened his own residential real estate office in which he served until the last year of his life. His daughter Lisa Johnson joined the practice. “Bill was a Newport icon with his navy blue blazer, regimental cardinal and gold tie and the obligatory white bucks,” said Grundy’s longtime friend Roger Riley.

Grundy was active in the community, spending 11 years on the City’s Board of Parks, Beaches and Recreation. His boat the “Ship House” was a frequent winner in the annual Character Boat Parade. His tugboat “The Trojan” never missed a Christmas Boat Parade. Not only an Indian Guides District Chief, he was a founding and dedicated member of Hoag Hospital’s 552 Club for over 40 years.

As the city of Newport was growing, Grundy ran with a group of fun-loving Young Turks who were active in the Junior Chamber of Commerce. Their service and social world grew into the Friends of the Bay and continues to this day. He was a member of Amigos Viejos, a quietly active political and social group focused on the city’s growth.

Grundy had been a resident of Lido Isle since 1950 and served as an usher at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church for 50 years. He was a lifelong member of the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

Grundy founded the Newport Beach Historical Society in 1967 and had served as its president for 42 years. “Bill was the greatest authority of Newport history,” confirms longtime friend Seymour Beek.

Among many awards and citations, the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce named Grundy its Citizen of the Year in 2002.

“World travel was never an interest for my Dad,” says his son Gordy, president of the historical society from 2009 to 2015, “He could never understand why anyone would want to go anywhere other than Newport Beach.”


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