George A. Smith (1935 – 2005)
George Smith had many nicknames. The Los Angeles Business Journal coined him “The Loan Doc”. To those who knew him well, he was the “Godfather” of real estate finance. Many simply called him…a mensch. During a career that spanned over 40 years, George earned the reputation as the go-to-guy when you needed to navigate any and all real estate financing waters, charted or uncharted. Friends and clients alike called his financing knowledge and creativity genius.
A “Type A” perpetual motion machine, George lived life with passion. His commitment to family and philanthropy was as intense as his commitment to business. Throughout his career, he had a hand in arranging over $30 billion of financing. From his heart, he was instrumental in raising millions of dollars for charitable causes and medical research. For more than two decades, he and his wife, Pam, were indelibly linked to fundraising efforts for Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T), a rare and ultimately fatal genetic disorder to which their daughter, Rebecca, succumbed in 2006 at age 26. The George Smith Partners’ Real Estate Luncheon benefiting the A-T Medical Research Foundation, which draws 1,700 plus guests annually, is widely regarded to be the “Networking Event of the Year” for the Southern California Real Estate Community.
Over the years, George was honored numerous times for his private and public sector leadership. In 2000, the Jewish Federation honored him as “Los Angeles Real Estate Man of the Year”. In 2005, Israel’s Tel Aviv University bestowed upon him an honorary Doctorate of Philosophy Degree.
He received his undergraduate degree in Engineering from UCLA and his MBA from the Harvard Business School. He was the Founding Director of the UCLA Real Estate Alumni Group, and he long served as a Governor of the UCLA Foundation Board of Trustees.
All that George learned from his life, his education, and his vast experience in real estate finance he gladly passed on, personally mentoring and enriching every one of his younger protégés, those who now stand at the helm of George Smith Partners.
George Allen Smith was an extraordinary individual who touched the lives of many… and helped make a difference to our community. Those of us who had the opportunity to know him, learn from him, and work with him are grateful for his legacy and the wonderful memories he gave us.
Thank you, George.