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Local Business Owner Frank van Dongen Passes Away

The Chamber was saddened to hear of the recent death of long-time member and former Chamber president Frank van Dongen, who passed away May 14th.  A Memorial Mass will be said on Monday, June 15th, on what would have been Frank's 71st birthday.  The service will be held at 2:30pm at St. Rita's Church, at the corner of Baldwin and Grand View (Sierra Madre).  Following the ceremony will be a reception at the San Marino Gallery at 70 N. Raymond Ave. in Old Town Pasadena.

Frank and his wife Ilona owned Harlequin Gallery, which they opened in the mid 1980s, and which sells, teaches, frames and restores art.

Frank and Ilona were recognized by the Chamber at the Citizen of the Year Dinner in January of 2007 for their 40+ years of Sierra Madre business ownership and service to the community, beginning with Frank's Fresh Fish Market in Kersting Court, one of three market/restaurants he owned and operated prior to going into the art restoration business, following in the footsteps of his great-great uncle, Kees van Dongen, a well known Dutch artist.  Frank was born in Holland in 1938, and moved to California in the late 1960s.  He lived in Arcadia for a while before settling in Sierra Madre, a town he loved dearly.  He also loved his new country.  After the horror of September 11, 2001, this Dutch immigrant decided to put his creative talents to work in an American community unity project in which hundreds got to participate.  He painted a flag scene, on which was written the words: "America will stay strong."  He then made the painting available at numerous community events and schools, allowing people of all ages to sign their names and express a short thought.  The response was overwhelming, with a large portion of the signers'  thoughts mentioning pride in America, and hopes for love and peace; an expression of the community and its desire to react positively in the most negative of situations.  He will be sorely missed. 

In lieu of flowers, Ilona has suggested that donations might be made to Angeles Clinic, Santa Monica or John Wayne Hospital, Santa Monica.

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