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Gerald Condon, 75; Lawyer, Coauthor of Estate Planning Book

September 09, 2006|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

Gerald M. Condon, 75, a Santa Monica lawyer who co-wrote a popular book about estate planning, died Aug. 31 at St. John's Hospital after a long battle with lymphoma, his son Jeffrey Condon said.

Gerald Condon used the experiences gathered in 35 years of family inheritance planning in the 1995 book "Beyond the Grave: The Right Way and the Wrong Way of Leaving Money to Your Children (and Others)," written with his son Jeffrey.

Father and son -- of the Santa Monica firm Condon, Condon and Festa -- went on to speak and lead seminars based on the how-to book.

Born Gerald Melvin Cohen in Minneapolis in 1931, he moved with his family first to New Jersey and then, at age 11, to Santa Monica. His parents, Jack and Sadie, had come from Wales and owned restaurants and apartment buildings.

The family changed its name from Cohen to Condon when Gerald was a child.

He graduated from Santa Monica High School in 1949 and received a bachelor's degree in political science from UCLA in 1953.

After serving in the Air Force -- stationed in San Bernardino during the Korean War -- Condon earned his law degree from Loyola Law School in Los Angeles. In 1960, Condon formed a legal practice with his older brother, Milton.

An active man who participated in many recreational sports, Gerald Condon particularly loved surfing in the afternoon after work at Surfrider Beach in Malibu, his son said.

Condon retired from the law firm in 2001, and he did have an inheritance plan.

"This was not a case of the shoemaker not making shoes for his own kids," Jeffrey Condon said.

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