John David Hugunin, Sr.

1929 – 2021
John David Hugunin, Sr., of Santa Barbara, passed away peacefully the morning of September 24, 2021 at Cottage Hospital. He was 92.

Mr. Hugunin was born in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1929 to Hiram Hugunin and his wife, Mary, and was raised there along with his sister Sylvia. After earning a bachelor’s degree in English and a master’s in psychology, he moved to Chicago and made a name for himself as an advertising copy writer. He later served as the founding president of The Bradford Exchange, which in time grew to be America’s largest collector’s plate company. Seeking to forge his own path, he founded his own company, Pemberton & Oakes, in 1976, and moved the company to Santa Barbara in 1979, where it thrived until he retired in the mid-1990s.

More important than business, however, was John’s commitment to enjoying life, whether traveling the world with friends and family, fishing in Alaska and Mexico, or entertaining at home in Santa Barbara. He helped found a men’s group over 30 years ago that still meets to this day, and was known for inviting one and all into his home, often cooking elaborate meals such as paella and coq au vin. Perhaps his longest running pursuit was dining out locally—for many years, he ate out six nights a week, and even in later life he was a frequent fixture at favorite restaurants such as El Encanto and Stella Mare’s. Mr. Hugunin is survived by his sons, John and Greg, his grandchildren Nat and Sean, his nieces Margie, Jill, and Jan, and his favorite nephew, Jeff. The family extends special thanks to Nina Scarcello and Mary Orr for their loving care and support throughout John’s long and rewarding life. A private ceremony was held by the family.


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