Obituary of John Gilchrist
John Elmer Gilchrist
Well known in architectural design, loving husband and devoted father, John passed away peacefully at his home on July 12, 2021. He is preceded in death by his lifelong wife and partner, Betsy, and survived by their three children: Kari, Kevin and Kim; and three grandchildren.
John grew up with four brothers in McKeesport, PA before moving to Chicago where he fell in love with Betsy. Both attended the Illinois Institute of Technology, which started John’s passion for architectural design.
After moving to Los Angeles, John worked at Victor Gruen Associates and then for Ray and Charles Eames where he was involved with Arts & Architecture Magazine and other design projects. He then served as acting dean for the USC School of Architecture and, later in life, as a professor at the UCLA Architecture and Urban Design program.
John’s notable career in architectural design included positions as Assistant City Manager for the City of Miami where he was instrumental in the building of the Bayside Waterfront Marketplace; and Executive Director of the Santa Monica Pier Restoration Corporation. He loved to tell people his office was ‘above the merry-go-round’ at the pier.
John and Betsy spent their later years in Phoenix, AZ where they could enjoy time with family. Both loved traveling across the globe, from Mexico to Vietnam and parts in-between! They also explored the United States in their trailer with their dog, Peer. After Betsy passed, John spent most of his time with his children and enjoying the Sonoran Desert.
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