Man of the Year: Gary Condie remembered by those who knew him

Gary Condie sips on a sugar-free Red Bull at the Condies' 50th wedding anniversary celebration at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in 2017. The Signal
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A number of organizations and individuals in the community shared the legacy of longtime community philanthropist Gary Condie, who died last week on his 76th birthday.

Widely complimented as a community leader, he was heavily involved in a number of local organizations, such as the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital, the Boys & Girls Club of Santa Clarita Valley and the Child and Family Center.

“He would always try to come up with a solution that would benefit the community,” said Marlee Lauffer, president of the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation.

Seeing a need nearly four decades ago, Condie was instrumental in creating the Henry Mayo Newhall Hospital Foundation. The foundation has raised more than $60 million for patient-care programs at Henry Mayo since its creation in 1984.

“I think if you talk to a lot of different people in the community, they’ve been touched by Gary in various ways,” said Lauffer, adding she befriended Condie through decades’ worth of attending the same charity events. “He was very well-known in the community for, you know, kind of rallying people around different events.”

Condie, Lauffer said, would realize the need of the hospital and not only donate generously with his own time and money in order to fill the need, but also he would then hop on the phone and call up a list of people he knew would be on board with either assisting with their time and/or finances.

He encouraged other people to see that the fate of the hospital was really in the hands of the community, Lauffer said. “That if they wanted to see it grow and get stronger and get more services, they needed to step up, as well. He was a great cheerleader.”

In addition to being heavily involved with the hospital, always by the side of his wife, Myrna, the couple also helped build up the Santa Clarita Valley Boys & Girls Club to the success that it is today, according to Matthew Nelson, CEO for the local Boys & Girls Club organization.

Nelson said his relationship with Condie began more than 15 years ago when he was working part-time at the Boys & Girls Club. As their relationship grew, Nelson realized Condie not only encouraged the children, but the staff, as well.

“I went back to school for my master’s degree, and I wouldn’t have done that if it wasn’t for conversations I had with him and his support,” said Nelson. “And to have somebody who’s so highly esteemed in the community support you and believe in you … just really feels good, it makes you believe in yourself.”

Gary and Myrna have been helping lead the Boys & Girls Club’s annual Festival of Trees since its inception, working as either volunteers or co-chairs of the event every year. Hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised over the years, with the money going to scholarships for kids’ memberships, subsidizing the annual cost of the club.

“You know the one thing he loved to say is, ‘You can never say thank you enough,’” said Nelson. “He was always looking for ways to acknowledge and thank people so they felt that what they were doing was important.”

The impact Condie had was realized by not only the people running the organizations, but other leaders in the community donating their time regularly, as well.

Santa Clarita Mayor Cameron Smyth said there were generations of SCV kids who were either directly or indirectly affected by the work Condie did at the Boys & Girls Club.

“Santa Clarita is a very special place and one of the reasons for that is the legacy of service that people like Gary, and others, have set for the next generation,” said Smyth. “Without a doubt, Gary can be held up as an example of someone who found a way to serve this community, and do it for decades.”

Gary Condie is a past winner of the Santa Clarita Valley Man of the Year award, which is given annually to recognize outstanding work with the nonprofit community. He also was a Silver Spur honoree, which is given by College of the Canyons to recognize the college’s most outstanding supporters.

There will be a viewing at 9-10:30 a.m., Wednesday, Jan. 8, with a funeral scheduled for 11 a.m. at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Valencia Stake Center, which is located at 24443 McBean Parkway, Valencia.

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