The Skipper

The Skipper - John B. "Jim" Kilroy

The Skipper

John B. “Jim” Kilroy, 1922 – 2016

John B. Kilroy Sr., who rose from a Depression-era childhood to establish Kilroy Realty Corp. as one of the leading commercial real estate firms on the West Coast, has died at age 94, his foundation announced.

Kilroy, who also was a renowned sailor, died Thursday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles from complications of aging, said Chris Krogh, a spokesman for the John B. and Nelly Llanos Kilroy Foundation.

Known as Jim, Kilroy was among the developers who tapped into the growth of Southern California’s commercial real estate market, especially in the aerospace and defense industries, after World War II.

Kilroy started in real estate in 1947 – with only $100 in his pocket, according to the company – and founded Kilroy Realty’s predecessor firm in 1952.

“His vision was that he was going to build multiple buildings near major airports” so that the region’s growing number of corporate employees could travel more easily as the jet age took hold, said John Cushman, former chairman of Cushman & Wakefield, another major commercial real estate firm. “It was a brilliant strategy.” …[Read the full Article at the LA Times] – James F. Peltz, LA Times, Oct. 3, 2016

“From humble beginnings in Alaska, [Jim] Kilroy and his siblings were raised by their courageous and loving mother in Southern California during the Great Depression. As a contributor to the household income a young Jim Kilroy quickly learned the value of hard work and resourcefulness.

His self determination and insatiable curiosity proved to be the keystones to his future success.

He learned to fly in the US Army Air Corps Reserve in 1945 and this led to long standing friendships with key players within the aviation industry. His engineering background and innovative eye led him into construction, including design of high tech facilities for the aerospace industry.

His highly successful business interests and a growing family did not prevent him from taking on civic leadership roles. He was a political insider for the Republican party and witnessed first hand the political careers of Barry Goldwater, Richard Nixon and Ronald Reagan. He was also the Chairman of the committee in the Los Angeles bid for the Olympic Games.

Kilroy had extraordinary success in campaigning a series of five yachts, all named Kialoa, in ocean races around the world, beginning in 1956 with Kialoa I and followed by the launching of the 73ft Kialoa II in 1963.

Before the completion of Kialoa III in 1974, Kilroy and his highly skilled, fiercely loyal crews had circled the globe on Kialoa II, winning races and breaking records in many of the blue water classic events.

The performance of Kilroy and his crews on Kialoa III from 1975 – 1977 was unrivalled and their list of victories culminated in winning the World Ocean Racing Championship. During this period they set new standards of excellence in maxi yacht racing with their winning ways.” …[Read the full Article at Sail World] – Peter Allison and Andy Rose, Sailing World, Oct. 1, 2016

In real estate, Mr. Kilroy, a gold miner’s son and a former aircraft company executive, developed many of the enormous properties that provided a home to Southern California’s booming aviation, aerospace, defense and technology industries after World War II, beginning with Hughes Aircraft, Douglas Aircraft and Rockwell Manufacturing.

Developing large commercial properties in and around Los Angeles as well, he built a multibillion-dollar company.

But it was as a yachtsman that he drew international attention, captaining teams that won five Maxi Yacht World Championships from 1981 to 1987. (Maxi yacht racing involves sailboats generally 80 feet long.)
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After buying his first racing sailboat in the early 1950s, Mr. Kilroy began applying the aerodynamic principles he had learned in the aviation industry to improving the performance of his sailing yachts, a succession of them all named Kialoa, Hawaiian for long, white canoe. The first was a 50-footer; the last, Kialoa V, was an 80-foot maxi yacht.

In 1975, he won 11 major ocean races, including the Transatlantic, and the Sydney-to-Hobart races. The Hobart win in 1975 set a record time that stood for 21 years.

Mr. Kilroy was involved in every aspect of his racing teams, from design to manufacturing to steering the boat, using scientific analysis to improve performance.

“He is a devoutedly analytical man who lives by his Hewlett-Packard 67 calculator like Jesse James lived by his gun,” a crew member, Roger Vaughn, wrote in “Fastnet: One Man’s Voyage,” about the storm-tossed 1979 Fastnet Race, a 605-mile course between England to Ireland, in which 18 people died. Kialoa III finished second. …[Read the full Article at the NY Times] – Chris Museler, NY Times, Oct. 7, 2016