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James Eugene Dobrott


1930 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
James Eugene Dobrott Obituary
October 9, 1930 - November 23, 2016 James Eugene Dobrott, 86, passed away Wednesday, November 23, 2016 at his home on Lido Isle, Newport Beach, California, surrounded by his family. Jim, "Big Jim" as he was known to friends, was born in Los Angeles on October 9, 1930 to Herman G. Dobrott and Marie Ann Dobrott (Frawley). Jim grew up in Santa Monica and graduated from Saint Monica's High School, 1948, Loyola University, 1952. It was in high school that Jim met the love of his life, Bette Mae Porter (d. 2011). They were married in Santa Monica in 1952 and built an amazing life together that lasted nearly 60 years. Jim was a talented athlete who enjoyed competition in club, high school and college sports. His passion for athletics continued with tennis and golf, as well as being an ardent sports fan; primarily Notre Dame football and any of his children or grandchildren's pursuits. Jim pursued a successful career in real estate development and investment. After college he went to work at Shell Oil Company, then joined the Rinker Company as a partner in the development of gas stations and retail centers. After Harry Rinker sold his company to W.R. Grace, Jim served for many years as President of W.R. Grace Development Company, one of the largest shopping center developers in the western United States. Jim retired from W.R. Grace in 1985 to focus on his income property investments, primarily with his dear friends Chan Lefebvre, Sandy Hellman and Ted Moriarty (d. 2015), and to be a dedicated grandparent and travel the world with Bette. Jim was a long-time member of Santa Ana Golf Club and Lake Arrowhead Country Club, and enjoyed participating in his beloved Our Lady of Mount Carmel parish. Jim and Bette were generous philanthropists supporting the Catholic Church, Children's Hospital of Orange County, Loyola Marymount University and Hoag Hospital. Big Jim was larger than life in many ways. He was a warm, caring, charismatic, and generous man who amassed an incomparable group of friends and was a valued mentor to many. With a quick wit, gift for storytelling and easy manner, Jim drew people to him and brightened many lives. He managed a busy social calendar until the very end, hanging out with friends at the Lido Diner or a variety of his other favorite restaurants. Jim was preceded in death by his beloved wife Bette and son, Daniel (d.1978). He is survived by his sister Barbara (Robert) Stapleford, and his children: James Jr. (Ginette), Michael, John (Heidi) and Megan, his grandchildren: Jill (Matt), Marc (Terra), Daniel, John (Alyssa), Harrison, Michael (Hannah), Hannah, Taylor, Natalie, Brynne and Davis, and his great-grandchildren: Mason, Dylan, Ashley, Will, Finley, Jackson and Adeline. We will miss Jim in ways that cannot be expressed. He was truly one of a kind and will always be in our hearts. Funeral services will be held at 10:00 a.m., February 3, 2017 at Our Lady of Mount Carmel Catholic Church, 1441 W. Balboa Blvd., Newport Beach and a celebration of Jim's life will immediately follow at the Balboa Bay Club, 1221 Coast Highway, Newport Beach. All of Jim's friends and family are welcome and aloha attire is encouraged. In lieu of flowers, donations may be directed in Jim's memory to the Hoag Hospital Foundation.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from Dec. 23, 2016 to Jan. 1, 2017
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