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Chamber member dies in Alaska

Art Gronsky fell ill while on vacation. Longtime business leader is remembered as a mentor and good friend.

October 20, 2007|By Michael Miller

Longtime Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce member Art Gronsky died Friday. He was 87.

Gronsky, a former Newport Beach Citizen of the Year and a frequent volunteer at community events, fell ill while on vacation in Alaska and was reportedly in a coma ever since. A spokeswoman for Alaska Regional Hospital in Anchorage confirmed Friday morning that Gronsky was in critical condition, but declined to discuss the nature of his illness or how long he had been in the hospital.

Wally Ziglar, a longtime friend who has been in touch with Gronsky’s companion by phone, said the Balboa resident had fallen ill on Monday and not regained consciousness.

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Word of Gronsky’s illness spread around the Newport community this week, as the Chamber of Commerce mentioned him in an invocation Thursday evening during a ceremony at the Newport Dunes Resort.

“I remember when my mother-in-law died, he took us out on his boat to spread her ashes,” said Jim De Boom, a longtime friend. “On the way back in there were 100 to 150 dolphins leading us back. Art said he never saw anything like that. He was a good friend and I’ll really miss him. He was a mentor to a lot of people.”

Gronsky, whose family owned the Balboa Pavilion from 1947 to 1960, had been active with the chamber and other groups around town for more than half a century. Even in recent months he was still active with the chamber, officials said.

— Paul Anderson contributed to this report


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