A mere glance around Pat Theodora’s home is all that is needed to gain an understanding of what is most important to the entrepreneur. End tables are decorated with photos of his four children and his wife Ellen displaying his devotion to family (his brother and parents both live within minutes of his house). Surf magazines are stacked on the coffee table—a glimpse into his passion for adventure. It’s these two loves that led Pat to extend his dedication beyond the walls of his home and into the South Bay community, where he grew up, raised his family and started his business almost 30 years ago.
When you hear about what Theodora does for fun, you suddenly wonder what the thrill-seeker won’t do. His surfing and diving take him all over the world—to places such as Tahiti, Fiji, Costa Rica, Mexico, South Africa, Indonesia, the Maldives and Hawaii. He also dove with great white sharks in Cape Cod, South Africa.
In the cooler months, there is a lot of skiing (downhill and helicopter) and snowboarding to be done. It’s a family tradition to go to the house in South Lake Tahoe the day after Christmas each year.
The Theodora sense of adventure is not exclusive to the patriarch; it is embedded in their genes. The children’s physical endeavors range from skiing at the age of just 18 months to Eagle Scout wilderness hikes as young adults and championship paddleboarding a adults.
Theodora is also a hard worker. A graduate of Narbonne High School, he went on to Harbor College, where he earned his associate degree, and then to San Diego State University, where he received his Bachelor of Science in business management. An introduction from his mother to family friend Jackie Smith began his career in the mortgage industry, one he’s been in ever since.
Three years later, Theodora and Smith left the company to start American Mortgage Company in 1983. The two partnered with Pat’s father, Pasquale Theodora (Pat Sr.), who came out of retirement from AT&T to join the venture.
“Without my dad’s experience, the company wouldn’t have grown to the size that it did. We sold the company to a publicly traded company in 2000,” says Theodora. At that time, American City Mortgage was closing more than $1 billion a year in loans, with 275 employees in 10 offices located throughout California. Today, Kevin Theodora runs one of the top branches under its new name, Platinum Home Mortgage.
While working at ACM, Pat Theodora was introduced to Don Iannitti, by his good friend Gary Accardo.
Shortly thereafter, Iannitti graduated from college and was eagerly looking to start a business.
As a result, Theodora, Iannitti and Pat Sr. started DocMagic in 1988. Talk about the tail wagging the dog! DocMagic is currently the largest provider of loan documents in the United States. The company is run by Iannitti, who Theodora says “is not only an amazing programmer but is also a great businessman.”
Since school, Theodora hasn’t strayed too far from the South Bay. After a few years in Seal Beach, he remodeled a house in Rolling Hills Estates, which he and his family occupied for 24 years before moving to his current residence four years ago.
He beams with pride when he talks about his and Ellen’s four children. Jared, 28, works as a lifeguard for Long Beach City and attends nursing school. Bitten with the Theodora ethic of “work hard and play hard,” Jared is also one of the top-ranked stand-up paddleboarders in the United States. He has won the Rock2Rock race for the last five years. (Dad admits he’s tried this sport too and can’t believe that Jared can paddle for 32 miles.)
Their only daughter, Hallie, 27, works for Splendid—a women’s fashion line—as a sales representative in Venice. Theodora sees her as the most adventurous for living outside the South Bay. Next in line is 20-year-old London, who recently received his associate degree at Marymount College and is applying to transfer to another four-year program. Finally, Jaden, 15, attends Palos Verdes High School and is the only child still technically living at home—although it sounds like all the Theodora children and their friends frequent the family’s home.
All the boys ski, surf and dive along with their father. Jared and London are Eagle Scouts—following in Theodora’s footsteps, and Jaden is just three badges away himself. Theodora has been actively involved with the local Boy Scouts for some time now.
Theodora and his family are no strangers to Torrance Memorial. “The hospital has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I’ve seen it grow from a very good hospital to being recognized as a first-class medical center,” says Theodora. Two of his children and his brother’s three children were born at the hospital. But it was a surfing accident that opened his eyes to becoming an active patron and member of the board.
One day when Theodora was out surfing with his son Jaden, the boy was injured. He had severed an artery in his leg. He was taken to the Torrance Memorial Emergency Department, where he was told Jaden would need surgery and 300 stitches. Theodora was impressed with his son’s treatment. “You never know when your life is going to change. It was the greatest feeling in the world to be able to support the hospital for the exceptional care my son received” says Theodora.
It didn’t take long for Theodora to solicit his relatives to get involved with the wonderful programs and services the hospital offered. His mother, Helen, was familiar with Torrance Memorial from volunteering in the early 70s, and his brother, Kevin, was part of the pet volunteer program when he was in his 30s. Helen, Pat Sr., Kevin, his wife Joy, and business partner Iannitti, are now all hospital Patrons.
Soon after becoming acquainted with the Torrance Memorial Foundation staff, Theodora joined the Health Care Foundation Board as a member of the Board of Directors. He feels honored to be part of such a dedicated hospital that is on the cutting edge of medicine.
“What’s happening with the aging population is serious in the South Bay. I’m a baby boomer and part of that population so the timing of building a new Patient Tower couldn’t be better. Now more than ever I understand the importance of supporting the hospital. When you think about it, you support the hospital while helping the community: it’s a win-win,” Theodora says. With all that Torrance Memorial is trying to do to prepare for the future, Theodora is even more proud to be a part of it.
“I believe that Torrance Memorial is ahead of the curve. Being on the Board has been a great education. The hospital’s leadership is amazing at guiding us through the challenges of a changing healthcare environment. We’re moving forward and continue to aim high,” he says.