Gerald McCabe, a former longtime Venice resident and renowned furniture designer who founded McCabe’s Guitar Shop in Santa Monica, died of a heart attack in Oregon January 17th. He was 82.
McCabe founded the Pico Boulevard guitar shop, which specializes in a variety of acoustic and folk instruments and hosts music concerts, in 1958.
“He left California in 2005, but never lost his love of the ocean, nor his ability to live life in the moment,” a statement on the guitar shop’s Web page said. “Quite simply, we wouldn’t exist without Jerry, and we will never forget him.”
McCabe spent the last four and half years of his life near his eldest daughter in Eugene, Oregon after living in San Pedro and for many years in Venice.
McCabe’s shop owner Robert Riskin, who began working at the store at age 17, said McCabe decided to open the shop after repairing guitars for his friends and realizing that there was a market for what was then a rare product.
Though not a musician himself, McCabe remained involved with his shop but worked primarily as a custom furniture builder and designer, Riskin noted. He also restored wooden boats and docked his boat in Marina del Rey for many years, Riskin said.
“My dad always did things his way and he always encouraged us to do the same,” his daughter Hally McCabe said.
McCabe graduated from Long Beach Polytechnic High School and received a bachelor of arts degree from UCLA and a master of arts degree from California State University-Long Beach. He served with the U.S. Navy in World War II.
McCabe held teaching positions at several colleges, including UCLA, Cal State-Long Beach, Cal State-Northridge and the Southern California Institute of Architecture.
Hally McCabe said one of her father’s most memorable achievements was founding his namesake guitar shop.
“He loved music and was always really proud of starting the guitar shop,” she said.
McCabe is survived by his daughters Hally of Eugene and Molly McCabe of Bainbridge Island, Washington; grandchildren Kendra and Logan Pardy of Bainbridge Island; sister Janet Owens; nephews Jordan and Jeff and niece Jackie Thompson.
A celebration of his life is being planned in the spring in Los Angeles.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Alzheimer’s Association in care of Elder Health and Living, 382-B 58th St., Springfield, Oregon 97478.