Saturday, May 5, 2007 | 6:59 a.m.
When John Dermody bought Nevada farms and ranches more than 30 years ago and turned them into industrial parks, he sowed the seeds for what would become one of the nation's largest private development firms.
"Dad was 'Honest John' Dermody, a man known for treating people fairly from a time when a handshake on a deal was enough," said Michael Dermody, who joined his father's business, DP (Dermody Property) Partners, in 1976 and has been its president since 1983.
"His manner of doing business gained the confidence of major companies that came to Nevada."
John Arthur Dermody, whose company's projects over the past six decades include the 2 million-square-foot LogistiCenter industrial complex in North Las Vegas, died Monday in Reno. He was 95.
Private services were held in Reno.
John Dermody was a Northern Nevada business icon. Dermody "put our valley on the international industrial map," a Reno Gazette-Journal real estate columnist wrote in 2005.
DP Partners is the seventh-largest private development company in the United States, Michael Dermody said.
In the 1950s the elder Dermody built the state's first tilt-up warehouse on Reno's Valley Road. It still stands today. His company built its first Southern Nevada development in 1975 - a 200,000-square-foot warehouse for American Warehousing, Michael Dermody said.
Born May 16, 1911, on a farm in southern Illinois, John Dermody was the third of six children. During World War II, he worked for Douglas Aircraft. After the war Dermody sold trucks in Michigan, before being offered a Philco appliance dealership in Reno in 1949.
In 1958 he sold that company and went into the development business.
During the 1960s and 1970s, Dermody bought the Southern Pacific stock yards in Sparks, the Oppio and Kleepe ranches in Sparks and the University Farm in Reno, and built industrial parks on those sites.
He sold his interest in his family-run business in 1990.
In addition to his son, Dermody is survived by his wife of 62 years, Martha "Sue;" daughter, Gigi Turville; nine grandchildren; and eight great-grandchildren.
The family said donations may be made in Dermody's memory to The Children's Cabinet, 1090 S. Rock Blvd., Reno, NV 89502 or the Truckee Meadows Boys and Girls Club, 2680 E. Ninth St., Reno, NV 89512.