JOHN LAYTHAM (1944 - 2019)

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LAYTHAM John G. Laytham Of McLean, VA, died on Thursday, January 3, 2019, at Washington Hospital Center after bravely fighting a heart condition for many years. He was 74. Son of William and Doris Laytham (née Mimm), John was born on November 12, 1944, in Glen Ridge, New Jersey, and attended Carteret Prep School in West Orange. In 1963, John moved to Washington, DC to attend Georgetown University's School of Foreign Service. It was just three months after Stuart C. Davidson opened the now famous saloon, Clyde's of Georgetown. Upon arriving in Washington, John took a part-time job at Clyde's and quickly moved from determined dishwasher to partner within five years. Stuart and John had innate chemistry. With mutual respect, a shared business sense, and complementary personalities, the partners walked in lockstep for decades. Over the ensuing 40 years, John acted as Executive Vice President, President and most recently, CEO of the nationally recognized local restaurant company consisting of thirteen locations in DC, Northern Virginia, and Maryland. The company's meticulous and deliberate expansion was largely the result of John's vision, and its success over the years is a testament to John's business acuity, management prowess, and artistic creativity-traits seldom found in one restaurant impresario. Recipient of many business, industry, and lifetime achievement awards, including the 2010 Washington Business Hall of Fame Laureate award, John believed companies were obliged to give back to the community that supports them, preferably by investing in the future. "Business," he said, "is uniquely qualified to supply support systems for the next generation, for those young people who stand at the gap between ambition and achievement." With his wife, Virginia Idol Laytham (Ginger) by his side for 42 years, John worked to support the community through the efforts of Clyde's School/Work Program, a school-to-work partnership with DC Public Schools where Clyde's provided inner-city kids with academic mentoring, job training, part-time employment, and wholesome recreational activities outside the city limits. As co-founder and former vice president of the Georgetown Business Association, John was able to encourage other local businesses to give back to the community. John met the love of his life, Ginger at Clyde's in 1976 and throughout their marriage, Ginger has played an instrumental role in the company and throughout the communities Clyde's proudly serves. His many passions and talents echo throughout Clyde's Restaurant Group. You cannot visit a Clyde's location without appreciating his eye for art and composition. John carefully collected and commissioned artwork, and proudly displayed it throughout his restaurants. A talented cook, John loved food and had an appreciation for the farmers and watermen that supplied it. Clyde's was a pioneer in the "farm-to-table movement" before the term existed, creating a local farm program in the early '80s out of John's passion for sourcing the best ingredients. An avid gardener himself, John found great joy and tranquility in his perennial garden. Laytham had an amazing capacity for detail. And while the name Clyde's will always evoke visions of his beautiful restaurants, Laytham's role at Clyde's cannot be discussed without mentioning his dedication to people. A man of uncompromising principles, he attracted similarly minded individuals whose creativity and work ethic helped drive success. Like art, John had a gift for eyeing talent. He believed you should "hire the person, teach the position" and he ensured employees remained the core of the business. He once said, "I let them take risks, and I let them make mistakes. Giving people the opportunity and freedom to try new things, to come up with new procedures they feel would work better, giving people that freedom makes them more creative, makes them work harder, makes them more interested in their job. It's why we have an awful lot of people who've worked in the company for decades." When he needed a break from the bustle of Washington, Laytham would retreat to his treasured home in Nantucket where he was most at peace digging clams or out on his boat with his family. He was eternally grateful to his first wife, Janet Laytham, for the two incredibly bright and kind children they shared. John is survived by his wife, Ginger Laytham, son, Gibb (Eliana Facioni) of Chevy Chase, MD, son-in-law, Steve Vice of Annapolis, MD, his grandchildren, Julia, Olivia, and Lucas, as well as his siblings, Daniel (Jan), Edward (Nenya), Sarah Tapsell (Frank), and Deborah Laytham; and was preceded in death by his parents and beloved daughter, Hilary Laytham Vice. A memorial service will be held at St. John's Episcopal Church Georgetown, in Washington, DC at 11 a.m. on January 19, 2019. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John Laytham's name to Washington Hospital Center's Heart and Vascular Institute Cardiac Electrophysiology Research Fund
Published in The Washington Post from Jan. 11 to Jan. 13, 2019
Arrangements under the direction of:
Joseph Gawler's Sons, LLC
5130 Wisconsin Ave NW | Washington, DC 20016 | (202) 966-6400
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