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LOS ANGELES-The commercial real estate community has lost one of its leaders. George A. Smith, a real estate veteran and philanthropist, passed away Nov. 3 in Los Angeles, after a battle with cancer.Known throughout the industry as “the Godfather” of income property financing, his company grew to become one of the most successful investment banking firms in Southern California. He founded the firm, George Smith Partners Inc., in 1992.He is perhaps best known to many in the community for his devotion to finding a cure for a rare, and ultimately fatal, genetic disorder afflicting his daughter, Rebecca. Smith and his wife Pam helped fund and establish the two most significant genetic laboratories in the world focused on Ataxia Telangiectasia (A-T). One lab is at the UCLA School of Medicine and the other at the Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University. The George Smith Partners’ Real Estate Luncheon is attended by nearly 1,700 people annually and is one of the top networking events of the year for the Southern California real estate community.At this year’s event, held earlier this fall, Smith received an Honorary Doctorate from Tel Aviv University in recognition of his civic leadership and support of science. Five years ago, Smith was honored as the Los Angeles Real Estate Man of the Year by the Jewish Federation and has been recognized by numerous other charitable and professional institutions. Smith and his wife conceived of and endowed the Sinai Akiba Resource Room almost 20 years ago, permitting hundreds of children with special needs to be able to obtain a full-time Jewish day school education.Smith was born in 1935. After receiving a bachelor’s degree in engineering from UCLA in 1957, he went on to earn an MBA from Harvard Business School and worked in the real estate industry for more than 40 years.Smith is survived by his wife Pam of Hidden Hills, CA; his children James Smith, Jill Oaks, Rebecca Smith and Matthew Smith; and grandchildren Samantha and Hannah. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the A-T Medical Research Foundation c/o Haskell & Davis; 16000 Ventura Blvd., Suite 806; Encino, CA, 91436.Funeral services will be held on Monday, Nov. 7, 2005 at 12:30 pm at Skirball Cultural Center at 2701 North Sepulveda Blvd., Los Angeles.Following the services, a private burial for family and friends will be held at Mt. Sinai Memorial Park, 5950 Forest Lawn Dr., Los Angeles.

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