Pepperdine Mourns the Passing of School of Law Benefactor Herbert V. Nootbaar

April 24, 2017  | 2 min read

Herbert V. Nootbaar, longtime friend and benefactor of the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics at the School of Law, passed away on December 18, 2016. He was 108.

“I wish everyone could have the gift of Herb Nootbaar in their lives, but—sadly—there is only one Herb Nootbaar,” said Pepperdine president Andrew K. Benton. “He was one of God’s originals. Tall and dignified, witty beyond comparison, and blessed with the ability to maintain friendships around the world, to say that he was my friend sounds like bragging, but I am proud to say it was the truth.

He traveled the world on behalf of California and America, encouraged humanitarian aid to the Soviet Union at a crucial moment, was a booster of business enterprise, and loved all who came within his embrace. I don’t believe Herb ever met a stranger. To know him was to love him and to admire him deeply.”

Nootbaar’s ties to Pepperdine reach back more than 50 years when he first interacted with former Pepperdine president M. Norvel Young and his wife Helen. In reconnecting with Pepperdine through Helen Young (’39) and her daughter Sara Young Jackson (’74), senior vice chancellor at the University, Herb and his wife Elinor presented a generous $6 million gift to the School of Law in 2007 to endow the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Institute on Law, Religion, and Ethics; fund the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Dean’s Office; and support the William French Smith Memorial Lecture Series.

They later donated an additional $4 million to further support the work of the Nootbaar Institute—making them among the most generous couples in the law school’s history.

“Herb Nootbaar and his late wife Elinor were inspired visionaries with the School of Law and the University,” said Deanell Reece Tacha, dean of the Pepperdine School of Law. “Their passion for law, religion, and global justice serves as a reminder of their lifelong commitment to serving humankind. They have made the law school a better place through their abiding interest and generosity.”

The Nootbaars also gave generously to many other causes, including the Herbert and Elinor Nootbaar Ronald Reagan Presidential Library Courtyard in Simi Valley and the Herbert V. Nootbaar Baseball Office and Hall of Fame Complex at the University of Southern California.

Nootbaar is survived by his son, John; daughter, JoAnne; stepson, Gary Barker; 18 grandchildren; and 28 great-grandchildren.