It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of our company’s co-founder, Jona Goldrich, whom we lost on Sunday, June 26, 2016 at the age of 88. While many know him as an iconic real estate developer and founder of Goldrich & Kest, some do not know his amazing journey through life that includes surviving the Holocaust, arriving in California with only $50 and how he utilized his skills, talent and keen business acumen to transform a fledgling company into one of California’s most successful.
In 1951 while in port in New York City, Jona’s employer went on strike. The Israeli Consulate General arranged to have him and 170 others transferred to Ellis Island where Jona was able to obtain a visa and remain in the United States. Around that time, he set out by Greyhound bus from Boston to Southern California since its climate was similar to that of Israel’s. After a stint as an auto mechanic, he set his sights on real estate. His foray into the field was starting a construction site clean-up business, not long after which he completed his first apartment building.
Soon after, Jona met Sol Kest and created their eponymous company Goldrich & Kest. Together, they developed hundreds of diverse developments from high-rise apartment towers, for-sale housing, marinas, industrial buildings, shopping malls and leased guest homes. They were early proponents of affordable housing in California and have built and managed tens of thousands of units over the years. Jona’s business motto was, “Don’t tell me how much money I’m going to make, tell me how much I could lose.”
In addition to Jona’s real estate success, he continued the family legacy of “tikun olam” or repairing the world. He led by example creating the Goldrich Family Foundation, which furthers efforts to cure disease, supports local schools and international universities, promotes social justice, and, most importantly, supports Holocaust remembrance and awareness.
Jona was also a pillar of the Jewish community. His crowning achievement was creating the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust in Pan Pacific Park so that future generations can learn about the atrocities the Nazi’s committed with the hope that they are never repeated. Jona received countless awards and accolades throughout his life from such organizations as the Jewish Federation of Los Angeles, California State Assembly, County of Los Angeles, City of Los Angeles, Pacific Coast Builders Conference, National Conference of Christians and Jews, Boy Scouts of America and the California Humanitarian Foundation for Holocaust Survivors.
On a personal level, Jona was an avid skier; loved to play tennis, backgammon and poker; and always had a smile on his face. He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Doretta, brother, Avraham, in Tel Aviv, daughters, Melinda Goldrich and Andrea Goldrich Cayton, son-in-law Barry Cayton and his beloved grandchildren, Garrett, Lindsay and Derek.
He will be missed by many and remembered by all. His legacy will live on in all of us.