Dolores Hope, local philanthropist, dies at 102

The loss of Dolores Hope — wife of the late entertainer Bob Hope who died Monday at age 102 — continued to ripple this week through Burbank and surrounding communities, where she had a long history of philanthropy and charitable work.

She died at her home in Toluca Lake of natural causes, said her publicist, B. Harlan Boll.

The Hopes, who were married for 69 years, adopted four children. Dolores Hope became an adoption advocate, serving as a board member of Holy Family Adoption Services in Los Angeles.

“She was a real philanthropist,” said Patricia Modrzejewski, president of Providence Health & Services Foundation for the San Fernando Valley area.

She noted that the Bob and Dolores Hope Conference Center at Providence St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank is named in their honor.

Modrzejewski said Dolores Hope had a long history of giving to Providence St. Joseph, as well as supporting and spearheading its many campaigns.

“She will be sorely missed,” she said.

Modrzejewski said Dolores Hope had a close relationship with the Sisters of Providence because the Hopes were strong Catholics and supported Catholic institutions.

“It was part of her roots,” she said.

Dolores Hope was also a member of St. Charles Borromeo Church in North Hollywood, where she donated time and financial help to various church causes, such as the construction of the Lady of Hope Chapel and the Holy Family Social Service Center.

In 2002, the Hopes donated $1 million to the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation in North Hollywood to create the Archive Comedy Collection. It paid for 100 interviews with comedy legends, as well as writers and production personnel who had worked with Hope.

They share their life stories and advice in the interviews.

“Their donation really propelled us,” said Karen Herman, director of the Archive of American Television.

Bob Hope’s comedy collection is part of the archive, which is used as a resource for young people aspiring toward careers in TV, Herman said.

But it wasn’t just the money that helped. The Hopes’ stature in the community spurred others to participate in the project, which launched in 1997.

“Before their donation, we had a little more than 200 interviews,” Herman said. “Now, we have more than 700.”

Dolores Hope was often alongside her husband, including the day in 1988 when a street in Burbank was named after him.

She also joined him on many of his USO trips to entertain the troops and often sang in the show. After they married, Dolores Hope put her professional singing career on hold to raise their four children.

At age 83, though, she returned to singing, recording several albums, her publicist said.

She made her last visit to the troops during Operation Desert Storm when — at age 84 — she performed “White Christmas” on the back of a truck in the middle of the Saudi desert.

Services will be private, and the burial will be at Bob Hope Memorial Garden at San Fernando Mission, next to her late husband, Boll said.

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