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W. Barron Hilton Robert & Marion Wilson John C. Argue

W. Barron Hilton Endowment

Barron Hilton

Born in Dallas, Texas, in 1927 to Hilton Hotels founder Conrad N. Hilton and Mary Adelaide Hilton, Barron had two brothers and a sister. Learning to fly at age 17, Hilton served in WWII as a Navy photographer. After the war, Hilton entered the business world, acquiring the Los Angeles-area distributorship of Vita-Pakt Citrus Products, co-founding MacDonald Oil Company, and founding Air Finance Corporation (one of the nationís first aircraft leasing businesses). In 1954, Barron was elected Vice President of Hilton Hotels, running the companyís franchise operations and creating the Carte Blanche credit card as a service to the companyís customers. Five years later, he became one of the original owners of the American Football League, taking over the Chargers in Los Angeles and later moving them to San Diego. While serving as AFL President in 1966, Hilton helped merge his league with the NFL which created the Super Bowl. That year the Board of Hilton Hotels asked Barron to succeed his father as President and CEO, providing that he end his football responsibilities. While Hilton sold his majority interest in the Chargers, he maintained a small share of the team.

Under Barronís leadership, Hilton Hotels expanded into Las Vegas, Nevada, in 1970, purchasing the International and the Flamingo, later to become the Las Vegas Hilton and the Flamingo Hilton. Both hotels became famous worldwide destinations. With Elvis Presley as the headliner, the Las Vegas Hilton set a world entertainment record, selling out 837 consecutive shows. With Barron at the helm, Hilton Hotels Corporation flourished. In one nine-year period (1979-1988), the value of Hilton stock quadrupled.

Barron also directed the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation, which has been a major benefactor of the Catholic Sisters, and programs to aid the handicapped, prevent and treat blindness, improve sanitation and provide water for third world villages, and to address drug abuse and domestic violence in the United States.

In addition to his remarkable business skills, and fondness for football, Barron loves flying, deep sea fishing and hunting, which he has continued to pursue well into his 80s.

In 1982, Barron helped form the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation and became a member of its founding board, where he served as a trustee for 25 years, retiring in 2007. During that time, Hilton hosted numerous Foundation events, including the Foundationís first Annual Meeting. Barron was instrumental in helping the Foundation purchase its headquarters building and start an endowment. He recruited friends and business associates to the CJLF Board and advised its President & CEO and most of its Chairmen, even after he retired. Barronís lifelong interest in public safety and years of service with the CJLF were recognized at his last meeting as a Director of the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation in November 2014, when that Foundation approved a $1 million gift to CJLF to create the W. Barron Hilton Endowment.


Robert Wilson and Marion Wilson Endowment

Albert and Wilma Wilson

Robert Wilson was born on January 23, 1929, to Albert and Wilma Wilson. After graduating from Escondido High School, Bob spent two years studying veterinary medicine at U.C. Davis, before transferring to UCLA. After one semester, he joined an Army artillery unit headquartered in Japan during the Korean War, where he spent most of his enlistment managing courts martial. He returned to UCLA two years later to earn a degree in business and meet and marry the love of his life, Marion. After a brief flirtation with law school, Bob joined Coldwell Banker, working in the mortgage loan department then moving into commercial sales.

In 1964 Bob and commercial sales colleague Fred Duckett formed Duckett-Wilson Development Company to build and manage grocery-store anchored neighborhood shopping centers. To date, the company has developed 63 well-placed centers, owning and managing 2.1 million sq. ft. of retail space and managing another 900,000 sq. ft. of non-owned space. Duckett-Wilson also founded the popular Fish Market Restaurants with six locations in California.

While building his career, Bob and Marion raised five sons who along with their wives have given them 14 grandchildren.

The Wilsonís charitable efforts have been focused on preserving history, strengthening communities, improving education and serving those in need. Bob and Marionís support for UCLA has included scholarship funding, endowing a chair in the school of dentistry, funding for on-campus construction projects, and Bobís chairmanship of the schoolís fundraising campaign, which raised a record-setting $3 billion. It also includes service on the American Media Council on Child Abuse; sponsorship of a football stadium for Escondido High School; service as a Trustee on the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation and the Williamsburg Teachers Institute; service on the board of St. Johnís Hospital and the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association; and sponsorship of the Constellation School in Moscow. Bob joined the board of the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation in 1987. Over the next 19 years, he led the effort to fund the Foundationís Juvenile Justice Project, helped sponsor the purchase of and improvements to the Foundationís headquarters building, and helped establish the Foundationís endowment.

In 1998, the Wilsons made a contribution of $250,000 to create the Robert and Marion Wilson Endowment.


John C. Argue

John C. Argue

John Argue was born in Glendale in 1932, eight years after his father competed in the 1924 Olympics in Paris. He was educated in Southern California, graduating from U.S.C. Law School as Senior Class President in 1956. Following a two-year hitch in the Army, he returned to Los Angeles to practice law, working in two firms before forming a firm which later became Argue Pearson Harbison & Meyers.

During his 40 years practicing law, Argue demonstrated his investment and business expertise as a member of several corporate boards, including Avery Dennison, Nationwide Health Properties and the Mellon Financial Group. But professional success was simply a means to an end for him.

His love of sports and his hometown of Los Angeles were the focus of an astonishing record of service. John founded the Los Angeles Olympic Organizing Committee and served as its first Chairman. A partial list of his other affiliations includes: General Chairman for the PGA Championship at the Riviera Country Club, Chairman of the Verdugo Hills Hospital, Chairman of the Los Angeles affiliate of the American Heart Association, Chairman of the Pomona College Investment Committee, Chairman of the U.S.C. Board of Trustees, Chairman of the Amateur Athletic Foundation of Los Angeles, Chairman of the Los Angeles Sports Council, Chairman of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Trustee of Occidental College, Chairman of Town Hall, President of the California Club, President of U.S.C. Associates, Chairman of The Rose Hills Foundation, Member of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses, and a Trustee of the ARCO United States Olympic Training Center. John did not warm a chair with these organizations, he led them to success. He also made thousands of friends along the way, who enjoyed his great sense of humor, sharp mind and boundless energy.

He joined the Criminal Justice Legal Foundation Board in 1991 and served as Chairman from 1995 to 1999. In 1997, Chairman Argue initiated a fundraising drive to raise $1,000,000 for the Foundationís Endowment. Over the next two years he personally raised and contributed over $128,000. John continued to serve until, his untimely death from leukemia in 2002, leaving his wife Liz of 39 years, a daughter, a son and four grandchildren. Later that year, the Foundation Board voted to name the endowment he helped build the John C. Argue Endowment.