Philanthropist recalled as a force

Orange County philanthropist Donna Crean died Friday morning in Village Crean in Newport Beach, surrounded by family, a family friend confirmed Saturday. Crean had been battlingAlzheimer's. She was 82.

Barbara Venezia, an OC Register columnist and close friend of the family, said a burial will take place Tuesday and a private memorial shortly thereafter.

"Donna was the glue that held the family together," Venezia said Saturday. "She was a force to be reckoned with. She had a great sense of humor and a great faith."

Venezia said Donna Crean touched "so many lives" due to her philanthropic efforts in the area, which included Chapman University, Hoag Hospital, Children's Hospital of Orange County and the creation of the Children's Bureau in Orange County.

Crean and her late husband, John, created The Crean Foundation, which gave away $5 million to charities in just the last year, according to the Register's report.

The Donna and John Crean Mariners Branch Library in Newport was named after the couple, who also donated $10 million to Chapman University in 2010.

She pointed to the family opening up their estate, Village Crean, to charitable organizations for events and fundraisers.

"Her passing is the end of an era," Venezia said.

Twitter: @JoannaClay

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