Henry Segerstrom, managing partner of South Coast Plaza, dies at 91

Henry Segerstrom, an arts philanthropist and managing partner of South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa, died Friday, Feb. 20, 2015. He was 91 (Yousef Karsh)

Henry Segerstrom, managing partner of South Coast Plaza in Costa Mesa and arts philanthropist, has died. He was 91.

Segerstrom died at his home in Newport Beach on Friday following a brief illness, according to C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, owner and manager of South Coast Plaza.

Born in Santa Ana to a farming family, Segerstrom went on to play a pivotal role in Orange County's development into a major cultural and shopping hub.

Segerstrom attended Stanford, but took a break to enlist in the Army after Pearl Harbor. He was awarded a Purple Heart after becoming severely injured in the Battle of the Bulge.

While recuperating, he finished his degree at Stanford, then went on to earn a master's degree in business from Stanford.

In the late 1940s, he led his company, C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, to develop the first air-conditioned office tower in Orange County. The seven-story bank was built in Santa Ana. By 1962, his real estate plans expanded to building South Coast Plaza, a high-end retail center that has become the highest-grossing in the U.S.

In the arts world, Segerstrom helped organized land donations to South Coast Repertory Theatre Company and other Orange County arts organizations. He also was the founding chairman for the Orange County Performing Arts Center.

He is survived by his wife Elizabeth and children Andrea, Toren and Anton, their spouses, six grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

A public viewing and tribute is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 28 at Fairhaven Memorial Park in Santa Ana.

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