Bruce A. Kehrli, who served in the Nixon White House and worked as a Southern California real estate executive, died at home Sunday after a seven-year battle with multiple myeloma, a type of cancer. He was 51 years old.
Kehrli, a Newport Beach resident since 1985, was well known for his coaching and support of youth sports.
He was born in Pennsylvania and grew up in San Diego. He received a bachelor’s degree from Stanford University and a master’s degree in business administration from UCLA.
He was asked to join the White House staff in 1970 as a Marine Corps captain and later became special assistant to the president and staff secretary.
He returned to Southern California in 1974 and worked for home builder Kaufman and Broad Home Corp. in Los Angeles. He held executive positions in the real-estate divisions of Bateman, Eichler, Hill Richards Inc. and Pacific Savings Bank, and was an operating partner of the Linpro Co. He was also executive vice president and director of corporate development for Sasco Electric.
A letterman in football and rugby at Stanford, Kehrli coached many youth baseball and soccer teams. He served on the board of the Corona del Mar High School Football Boosters Club and as president of the Baseball Boosters Club.
He served as executive director of the Children’s Education Opportunity Fund, which provides tuition grants for underprivileged children attending private elementary schools.
He first was diagnosed with cancer during a routine physical and was told he only had a year or two to live. But he received two bone-marrow transplants and remained active in volunteer sports activities, kept playing sports himself and took on a new job, said his wife, Sterling.
Kehrli is survived by his wife and three children: Christopher, of New York City; Todd, of Newport Beach; and Hilleary, a student at UC Berkeley. Also surviving is his brother, Peter, of San Diego.
Funeral services will be at 2 p.m. Thursday at the St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the baseball and girl’s volleyball booster clubs at Corona del Mar High School.