Forty-year Irvine resident John Albers, 72, died peacefully at home September 4 with family members by his side. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in early August.
Mr. Albers was born August 27, 1938, in Lansing, Michigan. When he was about 5, his parents, surgeon John Henry Albers Jr. and Jane Haire Albers, moved to Pasadena and then to San Marino. Mr. Albers grew up in San Marino and was part of the first four-year class at San Marino High School, graduating in 1956.
He went to University of California, Berkeley, with the idea of going to medical school, but decided instead to major in business. After graduating in 1960, he attended the American Institute for Foreign Trade (now called Thunderbird) in Arizona and earned a graduate degree. He then went to Bogota, Columbia, where he worked for two years as circulation manager of the news magazine "Vision."
He returned to Southern California and earned a master's degree in business administration in 1964 at the University of Southern California. It was there he met his future wife Nancy Hagerman of San Gabriel. They married in San Marino December 2, 1967.
Mr. Albers took a job with Honeywell in sales and marketing and the couple made their home in Los Angeles. After starting to work in commercial real estate for Coldwell Banker in Newport Beach, they moved to Irvine in 1970.
In 1976 he decided to follow his dream and become his own boss at his commercial real estate company, John Albers & Co. He usually worked six days a week, recalled his wife, Nancy, and continued working until shortly before his death.
Mr. Albers loved swimming and continued to swim daily at a club until early this past summer. He also loved classic cars, which he collected and restored. He could often be seen driving his red convertible 1968 Karmann Ghia around Irvine and particularly treasured his 1974 Mercedes.
He was also interested in boating and with partners owned a 24-foot sailboat and a 40-foot commercial fishing boat in the 1960s and early 1970s. He and his wife once sailed down the coast of Mexico through the Panama Canal and visited the Dominican Republic.
He loved investing, listening to classical music and reading. He was a frequent visitor at local libraries. Since his daughters had moved away, he wrote them weekly letters and frequently sent copies of articles he found interesting.
His daughter Julie recalled that her father "always had a good story and a funny joke."
He attended Bible study at Voyagers Church in Irvine for the past few years. "His strong faith helped him find peace and acceptance and his strong will kept him fighting until the end," his daughter Laura added.
Just a few weeks before he died, Mr. Albers told his wife, "I have lived a full life, I have no regrets."
He is survived by his wife Nancy Albers of Irvine, who is the long-time administrative assistant to the principal of Rancho San Joaquin Middle School; his daughters, Laura Albers Stankard, her husband James Stankard, and their son Vincenzo of San Francisco; Julie Albers Cuevas, her husband Chris Cuevas, and their daughters, Taylor and Addison of Chandler, Arizona; and his sister, JoAnne Albers Maynard and her husband, Jim Maynard of Burlington, North Carolina. His three grandchildren brought him a great deal of love and joy and were the highlight of his life.
The family requests that in lieu of flowers, donations be made in Mr. Albers memory and in honor of his grandson, Vincenzo Stankard to Best Buddies. http://www.HCChallenge2010.org/faf/donorReg/donorPledge.asp?ievent=324914&
See more at www.BestBuddies.org
Services will be private with arrangements by Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary in Corona del Mar.
A celebration of his life will be held in October. Friends and associates will be notified of the time and location.
Arrangements under the direction of Pacific View Memorial Park and Mortuary FD1176, Corona Del Mar, CA.