Former Escondido Mayor Jim Rady dead of cancer at Age 73

Former Escondido Mayor James Michael "Jim" Rady.

‘He was an awesome dad and a wonderful grandfather.’ — Daughter Julie McKay.

Known for his intellect and directness, former Escondido Mayor James Michael “Jim” Rady died at his home surrounded by loved ones following a long battle with cancer on Sept. 18.

Mr. Rady served from 1976 to 1988 on the Escondido City Council, serving in the largely ceremonial post as mayor from 1982 to 1984 and 1986 to 1988. City Council members were appointed to that position at the head of the dais. He also ran unsuccessfully in 2000 and 2004 for Escondido Treasurer and in 1982 for U.S. Congress.

Born Feb. 21, 1942, Mr. Rady grew up in New York City and Long Island, graduating from Hicksville High School in 1959 and attended Hofstra College. His family moved to Escondido in 1962 and he was drafted into the Vietnam-era U.S. Army in 1964.

Mr. Rady founded, and was CEO, of Palomar Savings & Loan in 1984, retiring in 2000. He belonged to the Kiwanis Club and Elks Lodge, also serving as board chairman of the Escondido Chamber of Commerce. He was very active in the Escondido Downtown Business Association.

As mayor during the 1980s, Mr. Rady enjoyed being part of local efforts creating important projects for the city including: the Escondido Auto Park, North County Fair Shopping Center and California Center for the Arts, Escondido. He also served on the San Diego County Citizens Law Enforcement Review Board in 1991.

Politics was one of many prime interests for the long-time Republican who lived a life fantastic revolving around politics, baseball, gardening, golf, photography, ocean and stream fishing and reading.

Tributes flowed online Sunday, Sept. 27 as news of Mr. Rady’s death hit the streets.

“Jim was dedicated to the City of Escondido,” Judy Frye said. “He was honest and direct to the point and respected for his strength, wisdom and leadership.”

Said Nan and Charlie Wilson: “Jim was a good man who made a difference in many people’s lives. He will be missed by his many friends and his loving family.”

Mr. Rady is survived by his wife of 16 years, Jo Ann Case Rady, and two daughters, Julie McKay of Escondido and Kara Wilson of Cardiff. His ashes will be buried in his parents’ grave with only immediate family present, the notice said. No services were planned.

Mr. Rady was an active member of the Escondido Library Foundation Board (ELF). He previously asked that in lieu of flowers, any donations be directed to ELF at the Escondido Main Library, 239 S. Kalmia St., Escondido, CA 92025.