The Los Angeles County Fair Association honored four individuals of distinction with induction into its Hall of Fame at the association’s annual meeting on April 28.
G. Grenville Whyte joined the Fair association in 1954 and served as president of the Fair board from 1974 until his death in 1983. He is remembered for his strong leadership and direction during those formative Fair years, especially his contributions in bringing the Fair’s horse racing meeting into national prominence. He was the president of the Southern Service Co. Ltd., a Pomona linen supply and garment rental business. The Pomona Chamber of Commerce honored him with a community service award in 1952 and 1967.
Donald DesCombes, Molly Johnson and Thomas Nuss round out the stellar field of four.
DesCombes was a director on the board from 1980-2002. He was active as a member of the Fairplex finance committee, nominating committee, Blue Ribbon committee and Claremont community committee. He was the first chairperson of the Fairplex Education Foundation formed in 1999. DesCombes was a partner in a commercial insurance brokerage firm in the Inland Empire for 40 years and was actively involved with the L.A. Olympic Organizing Committee. He and his wife, Betty, were honored as 2003 Humanitarians of the Year by LeRoy Haynes Center for Children.
Johnson joined the Fair association in 1979 and has the distinction of being the first woman elected to the board of directors, a position she held from 1979-2001. She was active on committees for home arts, arts-in-action, operations, exhibits and marketing.
She is a member of the Child Development Center’s auction committee. She was the first chairperson of the Fairplex Child Development Center Foundation formed in 1999. She is recognized as a passionate advocate, most especially dedicated to the welfare and education of children.
Thomas Nuss joined the Fair association in 1984 and served on the board of directors from 1990-2002. He served as a member of the LACFA finance committee, contributions committee and currently serves on the LACFA strategic planning committee. He is a chair of the San Dimas community committee, and member of the La Verne Blue Ribbon committee. He provided guidance and direction in 1999, serving as the chairperson for the inaugural Millard Sheets Gallery Foundation, a position he still holds. Nuss is a retired superior court judge and former mayor of San Dimas.
The commonality with DesCombes, Johnson and Nuss is the leadership and contributions made as inaugural chairpersons of the three Fairplex foundations, all established in 1999.
The foundations were created to further enhance the existing educational opportunities at Fairplex by raising funds through grants and charitable donations. A testimony to the character, leadership and guidance provided by the foundation chairs is evidenced by the more than $3 million raised since 1999. The funds are utilized for expanded Fairtime and year-round programming to benefit area school children and members of the surrounding communities. The foundations have a slogan to describe their purpose and goals: “The Foundations at Fairplex are three non-profit organizations dedicated to entertain, enlighten and educate learners of all ages at Fairplex, the world’s largest classroom, where learning is cleverly disguised as fun.”
Each of the honorees was also active in local and regional organizations. The Los Angeles County Fair Association is pleased to salute the invaluable and innumerable contributions of the newest members of the LACFA Hall of Fame.
For information about Fairplex or the Fairplex foundations, visit the Web site at www.fairplex.com. Photo available, please call (909) 865-4262. rc=http://www.chinabnr.com/b.