Dr. Leon T. Garr recently celebrated his 100th birthday and received an Honorary Doctor of Divinity from Bible Believers Christian College & Seminary for his strong commitment to community, scholarship, and service. Pictured from left are Dr. George Underwood, Dr. Vera Milton, Dr. Matthew Smith, Dr. Ray Ross Sr., Willie Dye, Dr. Steven Davis and Leon T. Garr seated.
A native of Louisiana, Garr migrated to Los Angeles and created a multi-faceted business empire that included construction, real estate holdings, educational facilities and banking. Garr’s remarkable business career began in Louisiana, where he constructed one of the first buildings at Grambling College. In the early 1940s he moved to Los Angeles and in 1958 co-founded Coast Construction Company. In 1963 he launched Garr Construction and built homes in Baldwin Hills, Brentwood, West L.A. and Willowbrook. Garr’s commitment to quality construction and customer service precipitated exponential growth; the company expanded into commercial development that included building facilities at Costa Mesa College, apartment complexes and strip malls in California and Nevada. Locally, Garr’s construction imprint includes Garr Children Centers, the Leon Garr Elderly Home and the Leon & Mattie Garr Foundation.
Moreover, when Founders Savings and Loan collapsed, Garr stepped in and bought the bank, infusing millions of dollars from his personal wealth and created Founders National Bank. Along his journey he has enriched the lives of individuals, families and communities through employment, business venture capital, sponsorships, scholarships and philanthropy.