John Finlay Hotchkis, a prominent Los Angeles benefactor and fourth-generation Californian whose family homesteaded the historic Rancho Los Alamitos, has died.
Hotchkis, who died Dec. 14, had a half-century-long association with the Los Angeles Philharmonic, twice served on the UC Board of Regents and was a board member of the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
His ancestors acquired the sprawling ranch land in what’s now Long Beach as part of a Spanish land trust in the 1870s, and ultimately gave the rancho to the city — along with the original adobe ranch house and barns — as a museum and educational center.
Hotchkis continued the family’s support of the rancho and was a benefactor to causes including Planned Parenthood and Big Brothers of Greater Los Angeles and charitable efforts such as the Painted Turtle, a summer camp for children with serious medical conditions.
Active in civic and cultural groups through his life, Hotchkis also had an adventuresome side.
A fan of auto racing, he formed his own International Motor Sports Assn. team and raced at Le Mans, Daytona and Sebring — all shrines of sports car racing.
Hotchkis and a group of friends also joined the St. Moritz Toboganning Club and competed as “Team LA’” in the famed Cresta Run in Switzerland for more than a decade.
A businessman, Hotchkis was the cofounder of Trust Company of the West, Hotchkis and Wiley. The firm was later sold to Merrill Lynch.
When he joined the L.A. Philharmonic, he assumed a board seat that had long been held by his mother — Katharine Bixby. He was chairman of the board when Disney Hall opened in 2003.