(Page 2 of 7)

Notable Passings: Fond farewell to community members

Since 2000, the area has lost many valuable people, like two Segerstrom ladies and Jan Vandersloot.

December 30, 2009|By Candice Baker

Her last name instantly associates her with Donald Bren and the world of Orange County development; she was the stepmother of the Irvine Co. chairman, who remembered her fondly following her death. Trevor Bren had donated $500,000 in a naming grant for a UC Irvine theater; following her death in 2004, the university named its entire arts school after her.

She was known for working intensively with young actors at the school, and was highly involved in its development. She also was a noted painter.



One local woman is remembered for the joy she felt in feeding the masses.

Through her Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, Merle Hatleberg continued a legacy founded by her mother at a West Virginia boarding house, where coal miners were given sack lunches.


Before opening the soup kitchen, Hatleberg managed a senior meal program at a Costa Mesa community center. When she saw that children also were hungry, she began to feed them as well — until she was told to stop.

Hatleberg chose to open up her own storefront instead, where anyone who came in would be offered a hot meal. She fed the homeless, the working poor, the elderly and the mentally ill alike.

She also managed the distribution of food throughout the county during emergencies for the Red Cross — and never stopped her efforts, despite surviving cancer, undergoing five knee surgeries and losing her hearing. She died in 2007.


German-born Carl Diedrich brought his love of coffee to Orange County, and Orange County happily began congregating at the stable of coffee shops his family founded.

Like many giants of the technological industry, Diedrich began operations in a single-car garage on South Bristol Street, following many transcontinental years.

Unfulfilled by his career as an instructor and marine biologist, Diedrich moved his family to Guatemala and acquired a 45-acre coffee plantation with several partners. His five sons were immersed in the new experience before the family came to Southern California with premium beans and a roaster of Diedrich’s own invention, and started what became a coffee empire.

Diedrich died in 2001. His son Martin Diedrich now continues the legacy, trading the many locations for two shops with a focus on quality: He now runs Kean Coffee in Newport Beach and Tustin.


Daily Pilot Articles Daily Pilot Articles