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A Ritzy Reunion for Chapman

Jim Doti with Deedee and Don Sodaro

Many still miss the old Ritz Restaurant in Newport Beach. When asked what it is about the place they recall most fondly, most mention a favorite server, bartender or staff member before recalling a dish or the unique ambience of the restaurant. Which is why it was so nice to see a table reserved for former Ritz employees at the annual Women of Chapman fundraising luncheon in support of Chapman University. The table was underwritten by George Argyros, Jr., and his parents Julia and George Argyros were major underwriters of the 30th annual gathering. Still called Christmas at the Ritz, it drew 375 guests to The Island Hotel, raising nearly $308,000, which is a record for the event. Event Chair Donna Bunce, committee president Barbara Eidson and their committee were thrilled with the event’s success. Over the years the Women of Chapman group has raised $7 million at the annual luncheon. Fashion and jewelry was presented by Saks Fifth Avenue, South Coast Plaza, and Graff Diamonds, and honorees were Dori de Kruif, founding chair of the event, and Charlene Prager, who created the holiday fundraiser in 1987 with her late husband Hans Prager.

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