Donald Frederick Grannis
Died April 26, 2013, in Dana Point, California, surrounded by his family and within view of his beloved Dana Bluffs condo, his favorite weekend getaway and the location of many family vacations; a victim of cancer and a ripe old age.
Born and raised in San Francisco, he attended Lowell High School. His father, Frederick Roscoe Grannis, was a developer who built many of San Francisco's stately homes that are still standing.
Don served in the Navy during WWII as the Captain's Caller on a medical supply ship, and witnessed the raising of the flag over Iwo Jima while anchored in the harbor. He often recalled the experience of seeing Japanese dive-bombers coming straight towards his ship while the captain ran and locked himself inside his cabin. After knocking on the captain's door to ask for instructions, he was told to "do whatever you think is right." From that moment on he was an excellent source of advice for all.
Shortly after returning from the war, while in Pasadena he met Peggy Harriman, the best friend of his sweetheart Dolly Lester, who had died of an aneurysm while he was overseas. After only three dates he proposed, and they were married shortly thereafter in a small house on Lake Avenue in Pasadena. It was a perfect marriage that would last 66 years and produce an extended family almost 30 strong.
After WWII, Don received his BA at UCLA. His first job was as a stockbroker with E.F. Hutton in Los Angeles. Soon thereafter he went to work for "Pop" Lester at the brokerage firm Lester, Ryons & Co. In 1956, Pop asked him to start a branch office for the firm in San Diego, which he did very successfully. He and the family lived in Point Loma for 8 years, across the street from the bay, where they enjoyed sailing and membership in the San Diego Yacht Club. In 1964, Don became head of training for Lester Ryons, and the family relocated to San Marino, where they lived for 9 years. For many years, it was said that most of the Los Angeles area's stockbrokers owed their success to his efforts.
The brokerage industry suffered a massive consolidation in the early 70s, and Lester Ryons was absorbed by Hornblower & Weeks. Don commuted for a few years to manage their San Francisco branch, but eventually he had to switch careers and join the buy side at Glendale-based Van Deventer & Hoch, where in 1975 they offered him a starting salary of only $300/mo.
Great adversity soon led to great rewards, thanks to Don's strong work ethic and his reputation for personal service and honesty. Don became the top producer at Van Deventer, managing a large portion of the firm's assets. In 1977 he and Peggy bought a fixer-upper on San Rafael Drive in Pasadena, and with the help of her artistic talents and three major remodeling projects, they turned it into a charming and stylish Mediterranean estate. Social life revolved around Peggy's involvement with the Pasadena Art Alliance, and their 30-year membership in the Valley Hunt Club. Don enjoyed his job so much that he would go on to work at Van Deventer until he retired in 2002, at age 80.
Curiously, while he loved spending time at the beach in Hawaii and Dana Point, Don never liked walking on the sand. His linguistic abilities were remarkable, although his Spanish was limited to "Como andan los negocios?" and, famously, "Creo que es muy importante a decir el español con el acento del español." His story-telling prowess was legendary, as anyone who heard installments of "Cotton Ball and Pussy Prim" could attest. But above all, he will be remembered for his wonderful sense of humor, his unfailing gentlemanly ways, and his boundless generosity.
Don is survived by his wife Peggy, his son Scott (and wife Norma), his son Gordon (and wife Trish), his son Richard (and wife Candace), his daughter Page (and husband Tom Haralambos), and his brother Frank Grannis (and wife Mary). Survived also by 12 grandchildren: Gabriela (and husband Ramiro Flores), Nicole Adrien (and husband Danny), Ryan, and Justine; Misa, Kina, and Emi; Laura and Beth; Taki, Michl, and Taylor Haralambos; and by four great- grandchildren: Sebastian, Lucas, and Marco Grannis, and Pierre Adrien.
A celebration of his life will be held May 15, 2013, from 4:00 - 7:00 pm, at the home of Tom and Page Haralambos. For more information, contact Page at email@example.com.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests that you make donations to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society or
Published in Pasadena Star-News from May 8 to May 12, 2013
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