SIERRA MADRE – George L. Throop, whose father’s modest animal feed and coal store grew into a Pasadena building-supply mainstay over the past 80 years, died Sunday, April 11, 2010 at 5:40 p.m. He was 86.
His son Jeff Throop, president of the Tournament of Roses Association, said Monday that Throop died from complications of pneumonia. His non-Hodgkins lymphoma, diagnosed when he retired from the business 10 years ago, had been in remission, his son said.
“He never stopped,” Throop said. “Everybody that met him has a story. He’s what I call an unforgettable character in life. Call me partial, but I think people would put Dad in that category. He was just very special.”
Although his father, a 40-year Tournament of Roses volunteer, won’t be there to see his son’s Rose Parade in 2011, Throop said he was able to come to his January inauguration.
“I was so happy he could come and put the president’s pin on my jacket the night I was installed,” Throop said. “It was a wonderful moment. Honorary directors and life directors were in the audience and they all had a chance to come up and say hi … he really loved it.”
Throop, a 50-year Sierra Madre resident, was a man of many enthusiasms, said Don Judson, the 1984 Tournament of Roses president and a friend of 60 years.
“He was one of those types of people about everyone likes,” Judson said. “He could say and do things other people couldn’t get away with. We’d say, ‘Oh, that’s George!’ He didn’t have a mean bone in his body.”
Judson said Throop was “very enthusiastic, very positive, and never said no to anything.”
Especially not to ice cream – a passion he parlayed into a prized collection of ice-cream scoops and regular attendance at the Ice Creamers Convention.
“He went from barbed wire to ice cream,” Judson said, laughing over his friend’s progression from collecting belt buckles and campaign buttons to what Throop called “the thing that settled the west.”
George Throop was born at Huntington Hospital in Pasadena in 1923; he went through Pasadena schools and USC before serving three years in the Army as a military policeman, Jeff Throop said. He returned to Pasadena and joined the family business in 1947, and in 1948 married Nancy, who had just graduated as a registered nurse.
In a Star-News interview in 1987, Throop recalled his father, George Sr. – who delivered coal by horse and cart – starting the building-supply part of the business. “I guess he knew coal and feed weren’t going to last very long,” he said.
The company survived hard times in the Depression and rationing during World War II, Throop recalled. “I do remember one thing, though, we never once had to shut down. Sometimes my father only had two or three men working, but we were always open.”
In addition to his wife Nancy, Throop leaves sons George and Jeff and daughter Ann; eight grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
A memorial service is planned at 1 p.m. Saturday at Bethany Church, 93 N. Baldwin Ave., Sierra Madre. The family asks that contributions in Throop’s memory be made to City of Hope, 1500 E. Duarte Road, Duarte.
The family plans to bring some of Throop’s “amazing collection” of ice-cream scoops to a later family gathering, Jeff Throop said.
“One of the things we’ll have is ‘make your own sundae,'” Throop said. “He’d have loved that.”
By Janette Williams
Staff Writer of Pasadena Star-News
626-578-6300, ext. 4482