John C. McGuire passed away at his home in Portland, Oregon, on December 21, 2013 at age 93. A memorial service will be held on Friday, February 14, at 2:00 p.m. at the Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (147 NW 19th Avenue) in Portland.
Born in St. Augustine, Florida, McGuire grew up in Hingham, Mass. He attended Northwestern University before enlisting in the Navy, where he served during World War II. He met his future wife Elinor Stevenson, a navigation instructor at the flight school in Pensacola, Florida. After the war he worked in the Far East for Standard Vacuum Oil Company before returning to the US to marry in 1947.
The newlyweds settled in San Francisco where McGuire sold advertising for the San Francisco Examiner. During that period he ran into Dwayne White, a friend from the Navy who had a warehouse full of rattan furniture that he was having trouble selling. McGuire sold the furniture and began working with manufacturers in the US and internationally to produce his and Elinor’s designs.
The McGuires came up with a patented invention to bind the rattan with rawhide and added color to their designs, which became recognized as the most stylish rattan furniture on the international market—a standard that remains to this day.
Over time, the McGuires added many different materials in the creation of new designs, which became widely acclaimed, appearing in top private residences, restaurants, hotels—and even The White House.
The McGuires retired in 1986 to travel and spend time with friends and family. Elinor passed away in 2005.
McGuire is now owned by the Kohler Company, and is part of the Kohler Interiors Group.