The Dewhurst Family Legacy: Four Generations of Community Service in La Jolla

dewhurst family legacy fire station 13Pancho Dewhurst and his team at GDC Construction have long been avid supporters of the La Jolla community. When Ernie Dewhurst arrived in La Jolla in the 1900s, he laid the foundations for his family to become integral to the growth of the community. In the mid-1950s, his son, Walter Dewhurst, sat as president of the town council and initiated longstanding incentives in the Village; later, George Dewhurst followed in his father’s footsteps with his contributions as founding president of the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club. Today, the Dewhurst legacy lives on through the team at GDC Construction and remains dedicated to the evolution of our beautiful seaside Village.

La Jolla Christmas Parade

Now well into its 58th year, the Christmas Parade in La Jolla is a longstanding and beloved tradition. Walter Dewhurst, who was named President of the La Jolla Town Council in 1965, initiated the very first La Jolla Christmas Parade in the 1950s together with the Council; he was present at every parade thereafter, and even became known as the “Mayor of La Jolla” because of his extensive patronage.

dewhurst family legacy

The next generation of the family, George Dewhurst, was a devoted supporter of the parade and as founder of GDC Construction insisted that the company participate yearly with their own float; a tradition that remains to this day. Each year, one of the GDC trucks is transformed into a festive float and Pancho Dewhurst and his family ride alongside – just as his grandfather did 58 years ago.

La Jolla Village Christmas Tree

dewhurst family legacy

GDC Construction also carries on the tradition of decorating the tree at the La Jolla Recreation Center on Draper Street. Donated by the La Jolla Sunrise Rotary Club in 1984, when George Dewhurst served as president, the tree has grown from 7’ tall to a mature tree, which clearly marks the passage of time and the continued dedication to the community by Pancho Dewhurst.

SEE ALSO: The La Jolla Rec Center Celebrates 100 Years

La Jolla Community Centerdewhurst family legacy

As president of GDC Construction, Pancho took an active role in the renovation of the La Jolla Community Center (completed in 2012). Along with Michael Morton of Marengo Morton Architects, the GDC Construction team helped to complete the architectural redesign of the smaller, burgeoning Riford center (named for Florence Riford, who funded the Center as a small social club years ago). The Community Center is now a thriving community hub that offers classes, activities, and events for people of all ages throughout the year.

La Jolla Fire Station 13

One of the most significant projects tackled by GDC Construction was the restoration of La Jolla Firehouse 13. The firehouse moved to its current location on Nautilus Street in 1976, where it was remodeled and reopened in 2007. It was originally opened in 1913 at 7877 Herschel Avenue (present-day YMCA). The building was rebuilt at the same location in 1937, and then remodeled in an effort led by George Dewhurst in 1982 on behalf of the YMCA, who had taken ownership. The photograph below shows Firehouse 13 in its earliest rendering – circa 1937 – and after its most recent remodel in 2007 by Pancho Dewhurst and the team at GDC.

dewhurst family legacy

Pancho’s passion for the community and for La Jolla is clear; he firmly believes “that each project we work on becomes part of the La Jolla legacy,” something he is incredibly proud to be a part of.

Keep an eye out for GDC Construction’s upcoming projects in the community!

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Emily Ruchlewicz

Emily Ruchlewicz

News & Feature Writer at
Emily Ruchlewicz is a News and Feature writer at Blue Book Publishers and has written more than 100 La Jolla-related articles. Follow her blogs to stay informed about new businesses, read exclusive interviews with local business owners, and keep up with community events. (

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