Jim Beard, a California real estate developer and president of his Newport Beach-based Beard & Hoshaw Investment Builders, has died. He was 64.
Beard died Saturday after a heart attack at his Laguna Beach home.
In the past quarter-century, Beard and his various partners developed apartment buildings, single-family houses, townhouses and shopping centers in Huntington Beach, Santa Ana, Orange, Cerritos, Irvine, Buena Park and Sacramento. His company owns and manages more than a thousand residential and commercial units in Orange County and Sacramento.
Beard also became a major philanthropist, contributing generously to the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles, the Orange County Performing Arts Center, USC and the Orangewood Children's Home.
Two years ago, after watching the Great American Race of antique cars on television, Beard and his wife, Judy, bought a 1932 Willy's Overland, dubbed it "Slick Willy," and signed up. They drove cross-country from Huntington Beach to the East Coast and repeated the feat in 1994.
Beard said he had no thought of sharing in the $250,000 in prizes, but paid about $15,000 to participate in the race each year for the experience of seeing the United States on back roads and meeting folks who live in small towns.
"We're in it for the fun," he told The Times last year.
A native of Missouri who grew up in Bakersfield, Beard majored in business and real estate at USC and after graduation became a Navy pilot. He later worked as a stockbroker in San Diego and moved to Orange County in 1962, switching to real estate.
Beard is survived by his wife, a son, Paul, of San Francisco, two daughters, Kelly Beard-Bonett of Newport Beach and Donna Howard of Loomis, and two grandsons.