Daniel W. Donahue, 60; Developer Put Personal Stamp on Shopping Centers

Times Staff Writer

Daniel W. Donahue, whose Costa Mesa-based Donahue Schriber development firm put a stamp on shopping malls from Tustin’s Market Place to the Glendale Galleria, died of a heart attack on New Year’s Eve at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian in Newport Beach. He was 60.

His brother, Patrick Donahue, said Friday that Donahue underwent heart-valve and bypass surgery in mid-December and had been readmitted for treatment of complications.

An avid boater and fisherman, Donahue was equally passionate about traveling with family and friends to Catalina, Mexico and Hawaii, the last reflected in the island name he bestowed on his boat: Pilikia, or “trouble.”

“He attacked life,” his brother said. “He always wanted to be doing something. He prided himself on getting into monkey business.”


But he also took pride in the design of the firm’s many shopping complexes.

Donahue, of Newport Beach, and business partner Thomas L. Schriber are responsible for the look and feel of some of Southern California’s most successful retail centers, including the Galleria -- which they sold in November -- and Newport Beach’s Fashion Island, which they remodeled in the mid-1980s.

Many of the firm’s properties embraced similar themes of open access and color schemes ranging from subdued to vibrant, depending on the site.

“We’re always trying to create something that’s unique, something that customers will embrace on an ongoing basis,” Schriber said Friday. “You want to build something timeless, if you can.”


Patrick Donahue, a vice president at the privately held firm, said Donahue’s sense of aesthetics infused their projects.

“The tastes of the shopping centers were really a reflection of Dan,” his brother said. “He was not an architect or a designer, but he had an uncanny ability to put material together and have it look right. He was very tasteful guy. He wanted things to look classy, not be opulent but enduring and strong.”

Donahue, who grew up in North Hollywood, moved to Newport Beach in the mid-1960s to recapture fond memories of childhood family vacations there and to carve out his own piece of Orange County’s then-bustling real estate market.

A graduate of San Jose State, Donahue began as a broker for Coldwell Banker in 1966 but two years later left to join Griffith and Co. in Newport Beach, becoming president after he and Schriber bought the firm in 1974.

In 1983, the partners renamed the business, with Donahue serving as chairman and Schriber as president.

Donahue is survived by his wife, Michelle, and their three children, Katherine, 10, and twins Devin and Morgan, 7, all of Newport Beach; parents Dr. and Mrs. Daniel William Donahue of Newport Beach; and four brothers.

Services are scheduled for noon on Monday at Our Lady Queen of Angels in Newport Beach.

The family requests donations in Donahue’s memory to any of his favorite nonprofits: the Catalina Island Conservancy in Avalon, Hoag Hospital Foundation in Newport Beach, Kidworks in Santa Ana, Notre Dame High School in Sherman Oaks, or Pretend City in Irvine.


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