Ryan Hagen
Posted: 03/20/2013 08:21:06 PM PDT

Warner Hodgdon, a descendent of San Bernardino Valley pioneers who was responsible for rebuilding much of the core of San Bernardino in the 1960s and ’70s and was heavily involved in development for decades after, died Wednesday. He was 80.

Hodgdon was one of the most prolific developers in Southern California, with significant projects in the City of Industry and involvement in the construction of hundreds of businesses and homes, according to a statement sent Wednesday by Aaron Hodgdon, his son and president of the real estate company Hodgdon Group.

“His love of San Bernardino and vision for its future ultimately brought him to leadership of the city’s Redevelopment Agency two different times, where he helped develop city landmarks like City Hall, the Central City Mall and later the Ashley Furniture complex in Colton,” the statement says.

After building the Shandin Hills Golf Club, he declared it “exclusively public.”

Racing was also a passion, and in 1976 he started a team with a car called “The Spirit of Public Enterprise,” in tribute to San Bernardino, and sponsored local driver Billy Scott in the Indianapolis 500. Hodgdon was also part- or full-owner of nearly a dozen race tracks, including Ontario Motor Speedway and tracks in other states that still hold NASCAR Sprint Cup Series events, according to the statement.

Hodgdon gave several million dollars to help the Boys and Girls Club of San Bernardino, Lighthouse for the Blind, Campus Crusade for Christ, Santa Claus Inc. and other community organizations, and for years he sponsored the Little League, as well as building swimming pools and other facilities at the Western Regional Little League Headquarters in San Bernardino.

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