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Store owner dies at 58

Fashion Island business owner was active in jewelry industry and known for his charitable causes in the community.

June 11, 2007|By Kelly Strodl

Marion Halfacre, the well-known founder and owner of Traditional Jewelers in Fashion Island, died this weekend of a heart condition, Orange County Coroners said. He was 58.

Saturday afternoon police received a call for a medical aid and when paramedics arrived they found Halfacre outside of his Corona del Mar home lying on the ground unresponsive, Newport Beach Police Sgt. Lloyd Wheisenant said.

Halfacre and his wife, Lula, were well-respected members of the business community and stayed consistently involved in a number of local charities. They donated much of their time through their business to the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce and served on the Board of Governors at Chapman University in Orange.

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The Halfacres moved to Newport Beach in 1972 from Mississippi and opened a small shop in Fashion Island which has grown to become a city icon. The Halfacres' two children, Natalie and Eric, help run the store.

In 2001, the Chamber of Commerce honored the couple with a Silver Anchor Award for their contribution to local industry.

Friday the Chamber of Commerce elite Commodores group honored Halfacre as Commodore of the Year. That day he also led the group for his first meeting as Skipper of the Commodores.

Halfacre sponsored a number of local charities and events including the annual Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade awards dinner and auction.

In 2003, the Halfacres appeared in the Pilot's DP 103 for their activity in the business community and charities. In 2002, he was elected to the Jewelers of American Board of Directors by more than 10,000 members of the Jewelers of America nationwide. At the time he served as the president of the California Jewelers Assn. while remaining an active member of the business community of the jeweler industry.

"He was a colorful guy," Mayor Steve Rosansky said. Although not personal friends they would often bump into each and any number of local charities, as the couple remained a constant presence at such events.

"He was grateful for the things that he had and the life that he had in Newport Beach and wanted to return it to the community," said the mayor's wife, Gina Rosansky.

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