Tuesday, January 20, 2004
Services Tonight, Tomorrow for Edward DiLoreto, A Founder of Pepperdine’s Law School
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Services are scheduled for tonight and tomorrow for Edward DiLoreto, one of three men whose donation created what is now Pepperdine University School of Law.
DiLoreto, chief executive of Yale Engineering Co., died at his home on Thursday. He was 90 years of age.
Orange University School of Law “was going downhill” in 1967 when DiLoreto and close friends Harry Shafer and the late Vincent Dalsimer “arranged to take it over and paid the bills,” Shafer recalled Friday.
With Shafer—who had been an adjunct professor—serving as president, the three owned the school until 1969, when they donated it to Pepperdine. The school remained in Santa Ana until 1978, when it was moved to the university’s Malibu campus with the approval of the three donors, Shafer—who retired as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge in 1982—explained.
The choice of Pepperdine, a Christian school known for its conservative political bent, was a natural for DiLoreto, whose views were “way out to the right, even somewhat reactionary,” Shafer said. It was less than a perfect choice for Shafer, who is Jewish and “a strong liberal” and Dalsimer, who was active in Democratic politics before the late Gov. Pat Brown appointed him to the bench, Shafer recalled.
“But we had an agreement that minority rules,” Shafer—who has retained ties with the school—quipped, “and that way it didn’t affect our friendship.”
That friendship lasted over 50 years, Shafer told the MetNews, noting that after leaving the bench, he had an office in the plant where DiLoreto’s company manufactured aerospace and skateboard components. DiLoreto, he said, would be remembered for his philanthropy and devotion to his Catholic faith.
A rosary will be said tonight at the Los Angeles Cathedral, at Grand and Temple downtown, at 6:30 p.m. The funeral mass is scheduled for 10 a.m. tomorrow, also at the cathedral.
DiLoreto is survived by his wife of 50 years, Jill DiLoreto, and by five children, including Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Joseph DiLoreto. The judge remembered his father as a man with “an incredible work ethic....a businessman first, second, and third” who continued to run his company from his home even while in the advanced stages of cancer.
He also retained his interest in politics, his son said. “A dedicated, lifelong Republican,” Joseph DiLoreto said, he made it a point of following Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s State of the State address and predicting that the new governor “is going to save California.”
DiLoreto was a man “who never gave up” when he thought he was right, his son said, as exhibited by his legal battle with the Downey Unified School District. DiLoreto was a long-time benefactor of the district’s schools, but sued it in 1997 after the district decided to remove all advertising from the Downey High School baseball field rather than post DiLoreto’s sign extolling the Ten Commandments.
DiLoreto, who paid $400 to put up the sign, claimed the district was violating his First Amendment rights and related provisions of the state Constitution. The case proceeded through the state and federal court systems, after a federal judge ruled that the district, as a state entity, was immunized by the Eleventh Amendment against suit in federal court.
DiLoreto, flanked by friends and supporters, held a news conference outside the Roybal Federal Building when the federal case was heard there. Shafer was there and predicted his friend would “take the case to the highest level.”
He was right. DiLoreto lost at every step, but the litigation did not come to an end until the U.S. Supreme Court denied certiorari in 2000.
Donations in his father’s memory can be made to Pepperdine University, or to its law school, or to Villa Scalabrini nursing center, 10631 Vinedale Street, Sun Valley, CA 91352, Joseph DiLoreto suggested.
Copyright 2004, Metropolitan News Company