Monday, January 18, 2010

Remembering Armon Kamesar, a man of character.

Post 409 - Yesterday, I attended a celebration for the life at UCSD for my dear friend and colleague, Armon Kamesar.

Born in 1927 in Milwaukee, Wis., he graduated from Oklahoma A&M in 1949 with a degree in animal husbandry. He then joined his father's meat packing business as a cattle buyer in the Chicago Stock Yards.

In the 1960s, he joined the stock brokerage firm Loewi & Co, and soon was managing the branch office for the North Shore suburbs of Milwaukee. In 1970, he and his family moved to Jamaica, West Indies, where he owned and operated a small resort hotel in Sign, Jamaica.

He moved to La Jolla in 1973 where he was president of California Heritage Bank and in 1975, he founded American States Leasing Corp., an equipment and computer leasing company. He took the company public in the 1980s, changing its name to Amstad.

For the last 35 years, he's been involved with Vistage International, serving as chairman of several groups, and working with more than 60 CEOs as mentor, facilitator, coach, confidant and friend. He also served as Chairman of the Board of Trustees and of the Audit Committee for Consulting Group Capital Markets Funds, a New York based money management company.

In addition, Armon worked hard to contribute to the local community and was actively involved in public service. This including serving as president of the San Diego Food Bank in the early 1970s. He was also a board member of Neighborhood House, president of the Athenaeum Music and Arts Library, chairman of Citizens Oversight Board of the California Highway Patrol and chairman of the Audit Committee of the San Diego Employees Retirement System from 2007-08. In addition, he served as chairman of the Federal Emergency Management Administration for San Diego, dedicated to providing emergency food and shelter to those in need.

He is survived by his wife of 56 years, Barbara, his son Adam and five grandchildren. His son Daniel and two sisters predeceased him.

The ancient Greeks didn’t write obituaries. They asked only one question when a man died - "Did he have passion?" They'd certainly have loved Armon on that score, as did all of us who were fortunate enough to be his friend. He was what the Irish used to call "a character,' but in addition, he was a man of substance, a man of great character. In his memory, I plan to write about the importance of character this week.

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