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Patrick McGrew

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Patrick McGrew Obituary
Patrick McGrew


Architect and author Patrick McGrew passed away unexpectedly on the afternoon of March 10 in Palm Springs. Born and raised in Oklahoma City, McGrew received his degree in architecture from the University of Oklahoma. He moved to San Francisco in 1965 where he began his career in the offices of John Carl Warnecke. McGrew soon established his own practice, with an emphasis on historic preservation. He was a licensed California architect for over 45 years and his projects included the restoration of San Francisco's historic City Club as well as the terracotta-clad offices of 20 California Street. McGrew was the author of many books, including Landmarks of San Francisco and The Historic Houses of Presidio Terrace. He was appointed to the San Francisco Landmarks Board by Mayor George Moscone and served as president of that Board for 14 years under Mayors Feinstein, Agnos, Brown, and Jordan. He was a past board member of the San Francisco Heritage Foundation and the only board member emeritus of the City Club.

In 2005, McGrew moved to Palm Springs and began devoting his time to establishing the architectural pedigree of the town's Spanish and mid-century architecture. His scrupulous research methodology, combined with his passion for good design, brought significant attention to his work. His blog, Palm Springs Architecture, led to a position as the Palm Springs architecture correspondent for Artbound, the online magazine published by the Los Angeles public broadcasting station. In Palm Springs, he served on the city's Historic Site Preservation Board and the Architectural Advisory Committee. At the time of his death, he was chair of the Palm Springs Art Museum's Architecture and Design Committee and a board member of the Palm Springs Preservation Society (PSPF) which published two tribute journals he wrote about the work of architect Don Wexler and desert Spanish design. His skill, expertise, and knowledge of the desert's architectural past had no equal.

Patrick McGrew is survived by his life-partner of 25 years, author and actor, Robert Julian Stone. Plans for a celebration of Patrick's life are pending. The family requests that any donations in his memory go to the nonprofit Palm Springs Preservation Foundation (PSpreservationfoundation.org).

Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Mar. 19, 2013
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