A Legend's lifetime in the Construction Industry - Tribute in Memoriam
Jay R. "Dick" Gorman
Jay R. “Dick” Gorman's favorite saying "That is really dumb"; still rings in everyone's ears that knew him.
Dick received his higher education at Rice University in Houston, Texas. He earned both his Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in architecture. A dedicated officer in the U.S Corp of Engineers from 1955-63, he moved on to Kaiser Gypsum Co., in Long Beach and was responsible for promoting the product line in California, Arizona and Nevada.
Dick met Walt Pruter at Kaiser Gypsum Co. and they worked side by side for the rest of Walt’s career. Dick took over as Director of Technical Services for the Plastering Information Bureau in 1965. It was a division of the Southern California Plastering Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated to the upgrading and the promulgation of lath and plaster construction in the Southern California area.
Dick and Walt were friends and had mutual respect for each other. They were both great at their jobs, hard-working old-school gentlemen, much different from each other in technique. They worked together very well, developed their expertise over many years and were regarded highly in the industry. They understood the codes and how to communicate with architects. Dick was very knowledgeable and worked with the union plaster contractors. He did his own consulting as well and represented architects, manufacturers of construction products in addition to residential construction as the director of Technical Services at Gorman Associates. As such, he was involved with many lath and plaster job specifications, details, inspections, quality control, design, and trade promotion. Participating in hundreds of job inspections each year, Dick also took part in mediations, arbitrations, trials by judges and juries and countless of depositions.
As the industry grew the bureaus developed into something relevant and everyone started turning to them. They helped standardize things, promote cohesion, and educate on issues with expertise. Dick was instrumental in the development of the data guide and reference specifications sections of the first much needed industry technical manual established in 1970. He also worked to develop the original stucco textures and finishes brochure. In 1987 Dick, Walt Pruter, Jim Rose and Sam Jaffe published the 3rd edition of the Drywall and Plaster Systems Manual – AKA “The Manual”, which now contained drywall technical information in addition to the original layout. Dick was published in many places including his “Plastering and Problems” article in the October 1990 Construction Dimensions magazine.
Dick and Walt traveled to Washington D.C. to a CSI meeting some years ago and ended up spending 2 weeks giving presentations to the military. They also did a lot of architectural lunch presentations on lath and plaster throughout the years.
Dick constantly traveled and was well known for his love of McDonalds which he frequented during his long hours on the road. He performed inspections all over Southern California and as an early riser was known to be done with a job by 8am in San Diego and already be on his way back to LA. He would dictate his letters to his wife Alicia, who also served as his secretary, over the phone then look over them at the end of the day when he got home from work.
He took a great opportunity to go to Africa for the U.S. embassy to look at some cracking of hand-wrought stucco buildings. Under his direction they discovered the cement thrown on the wall was tainted with dirt as they had used holes dug in the ground the prepare the mixture.
His numerous industry affiliations include a Presidential tenure to the Western Conference of Lathing and Plaster, the International Institute for Lath and Plaster, and the Producers Council. Dick was also vice president of the Construction Products Manufacturers Council LA Chapter. He was a member of CSI, LA and OC Chapters and an affiliate member of ICBO. Dick also served as architectural representative and consultant to several manufacturers of construction products on the West Coast.
Dick and Alicia, residents in the community of Thousand Oaks enjoyed gardening and family life. They would go to church every Sunday. Alicia was very involved in activities helping out as Dick taught Sunday school. Alicia met Officer Gorman in 1957 while she was in Germany working as the registrar for the University of Maryland’s campus in Frankfurt. The happy couple met and got married shortly after in 1959. He always had an affinity for hot rods and drove an Austin Healey for a while followed by a corvette. Many years later he traded that corvette in for a minivan when they had their 6 children; Keith, Kathleen, Kenneth, Kecia, Ricky and Karen, 2 of whom were lovingly adopted. Alicia passed in 2018 after almost 59 years of marriage to her greatest love and joy, Dick Gorman.