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Posted on May 6, 2015 | 8:50 a.m.

Bernard J. MacElhenny Jr. of Santa Barbara

Source: Welch-Ryce-Haider Funeral Chapels

Bernard Joseph MacElhenny Jr., 75 years old, passed away in peace on April 27, 2015, in Santa Barbara.

Bernie was a proud fifth-generation Santa Barbarian. He grew up on the Westside of Santa Barbara with drive and ambition fueling him. From the start, Bernie was a master of the deal and drove a hard bargain.

His third-grade report card from Harding Elementary read, "needs to improve" on fairness in games. But if you knew Bernie, you knew that would be true all his life.

Bernard Joseph MacElhenny Jr.

He was a proud yell leader for the Santa Barbara High School Dons, and got into plenty of trouble at San Jose State University. He transferred back to UCSB to take real estate courses and listed his first house before graduating.

In 1964, Bernie started his first real estate firm and established Small, MacElhenny and Brown. He started selling houses and built his first 10-unit apartment building downtown. He took this small company and quickly grew it with many joint partnerships.

It was when he partnered up with Jerome Levy to form MacElhenny and Levy that Bernie's success truly started. The orange sign of MacElhenny and Levy was widespread throughout Santa Barbara and elsewhere in California on houses, buildings, land and almost anything else that could be sold.

MacElhenny and Levy grew throughout Santa Barbara and Ventura Counties, and eventually up in Sonoma County. His company had 1,000 salespersons and 30 offices when it was sold to Merrill Lynch in 1981.

Following the sale, MacElhenny focused on development of a variety of large commercial, multi-family projects in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties, Arizona, Healdsburg, the Virgin Islands, and even into the Asian and European markets.

Over the next 25 years, he owned and managed over 1,200 apartments, a large portfolio of commercial and a number of single-family homes. If there was an opportunity, MacElhenny was ready to make a deal.

In his later years, he turned a lot of attention to Alzheimer facility development and senior care.

Bernie had a passion for travel and throughout his life circled the globe, making friends and doing deals everywhere. But Bernie never forgot his roots. Throughout his life, he always gave back.

His generosity ranged from giving to established foundations and scholarships to buying all the neighborhood children ice cream in one of his apartment complexes. His heart was always looking out for the under dog.

Bernie is survived by his sister, Marlene Jean MacElhenny; former wife, Carole MacElhenny; son, Michael MacElhenny, and his life partner David Wine; his daughter, Catherine Dann and his son-in-law, Christopher Dann ; and his two grandchildren, Jackson Bailey and Angus "Agnes" Hollister.

His family wishes for privacy at this time. A formal service to honor Bernie will happen at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Scholarship Foundation of Santa Barbara (P.O. Box 3620, Santa Barbara, CA 93130) or the Central California Chapter of the Alzheimer's Association (1528 Chapala St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101).

BJM — May you find your parents, hug your daughter, Erin, dine with Nipper, and enjoy an Old Overholt Old Fashion light on the sugar.

 

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