Earlier this spring, the neighborhood mourned the loss of a long-time resident Paul J. Bilgore. We had the honor of knowing Paul through the Los Angeles Tennis Club where he served for many years as a member of the board helping steward the club through several renovations. But, of course, he did much more than play tennis. It’s so interesting to learn about his professional accomplishments since we only knew him after he was retired. Our thanks to his son Andrew, for sharing this remembrance that he delivered at his father’s memorial service in April at the Ebell of Los Angeles.
For some of you who may only remember my dad as a social lover of tennis, Dad graduated Yale in 1950 and Columbia Law School in 1953. He was always proud of being chosen Manager of the Yale Basketball team. He was then drafted into the Army during the Korean War, as a buck private…with a law degree…, where he made the best of whatever situations he was thrust into and rose to the rank of Sargent. He taught me that whatever job or task or situation you are faced with, you should always make the best of it and take pride in doing it well.
He went on to practice law in New York City as Vice President of The Anaconda Company. He was also concurrently made President and Director of Chile Copper Company, Chile Exploration Company and Andes Copper Mining Company. And through his many dealings and negotiations with the governments of Chile, Peru, Brazil, Mexico, Jamaica, Ireland and pre-Khomeini Iran regarding the company’s copper mines– Mom and Dad have amazing memories of being personal guests of the Shah for a week back in 1972– Dad came to be considered an expert in the field of Expropriations, being asked to guest lecture at Harvard Law School and also testifying before congressional committees.
He was also a member of the U.S. Government’s Advisory Committee on Law of the Sea Treaty Negotiations and the Advisory Committee of the Council of the Americas.
It was fun for me to read an email from a Washington friend of his, Bob Healy, who wrote: “there are a few things that will always stick with me regarding Paul—especially the members of Congress calling Paul’s notes during hearings on the Alaska pipeline—the “Bilgore Papers” as if there were something unseemly going on….Paul and I joked about the aforementioned “Bilgore Papers” multiple times….”
Moving from Copper to Aluminum to Petroleum, we were moved from Manhattan to Denver, CO to Louisville, KY to Chicago and finally here to Los Angeles, where dad was made General Counsel of Arco Transportation, which manages ARCO’s pipeline and marine shipping businesses.
I found a 1986 holiday letter where Dad wrote: “June, who doubtless has given up the most in adjusting to our various moves, has a new project– modernizing our home in Los Angeles. It was built in 1924 and while it has good “bones” and interesting architectural features, it will need updated wiring, plumbing and heating systems, as well as a new kitchen and several bathrooms. When all this is accomplished, we should be poorer, but more comfortable.”
Paul and June Bilgore made their family home in Windsor Square and were active in many neighborhood organizations. June continues to give tirelessly as a volunteer at Good Samaritan Hospital, the Assistance League, the Junior League and the Ebell of Los Angeles. She and Paul would often host events for the Windsor Square – Hancock Park Historical Society and the Windsor Square Association at their lovely home in Windsor Square. Paul will be missed and we are thankful to have known his quick wit and smiling face.