John Dosa

John Dosa

A longtime title company executive, passed away peacefully at home on December 26, surrounded by his loving family.

Born on August 16, 1924 in Akron, Ohio, he was the son of Paolo and Pascuarosa Dosa, immigrants from Civitella Roveto, Italy.

After graduating from West High School at the onset of the World War II, John spent the next four years in the U.S. Navy. John served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Bennington, which saw much combat in the Pacific and was in Tokyo Bay when the war ended. John was assigned shore duty and told many poignant stories about that experience.

After the war, John attended Ohio State University  and then  law school at Kent State University, where he also worked as a title abstracter in Summit County. That work experience would later be viewed as the humble beginning of a distinguished career in the title insurance industry.

John relocated to California in the late 1950's, working for Title Insurance and Trust Company in Martinez where he held various management positions as a Vice President.

In 1968, he was one of the principals and founding members of Founders Title Company with offices in Alameda and Contra Costa County. In 1980, Founders was acquired by Old Republic International Corporation in Chicago.

John was the President, CEO and Chairman of the Board at Founders Title, and held the same positions at Old Republic Title.  Under John's leadership, Old Republic grew to over 2,000 employees and approximately 120 locations throughout California, Arizona, Nevada, Washington and Hawaii. John retired in 1998.

John touched many with his feistiness, his unwavering passion for "the people," his support for the underdog, and his beguiling charm. He was also the anonymous source of many personal acts of compassion and charity.

John's greatest joy was his family, particularly, his granddaughters, Sara and Elisabeth.  He was their mentor and the most enthusiastic supporter of all of their endeavors. He was ever present on the sidelines at their soccer games, often standing alone at his favorite spot by the corner flag. 

In retirement, John traveled extensively, was a voracious reader and loved dining with friends and family.  He was also a dedicated patron of the University of California, Berkeley, and a loyal, though often frustrated, Bear Backer.

He is survived by his son and daughter in law, Rick Dosa and Beverly Stone of Piedmont, by his granddaughters, Sara and Elisabeth Dosa of Berkeley, by his sister, Fran O'Connell of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and numerous nieces and nephews throughout the US and in Rome, Italy.

At John's request, there will be no funeral service. A celebration of his life will be held at a later date.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in John's name to the Glide Memorial Church in San Francisco (, to Playworks in Oakland (, or to a

John will be greatly missed by his loving family and his many friends.

Published in San Francisco Chronicle from Jan. 3 to Jan. 5, 2014