Bruce Hopping, a longtime Laguna Beach resident and patron of water sports, died peacefully in his sleep on May 17th. He was 92 years old. Hopping, a local legend in Laguna Beach, was most famous for taking a large inheritence and creating a foundation which he used to support everything from aquatic sports to the environment to art.
Hopping was also a World War II veteran who served as a med-evacuation pilot in the Pacific Campaign. His plane was blown off course one night, after which, he ended up running out of gas and crashing into the Pacific Ocean. Hopping and the other members of his Stinson plane then floated on the ocean for several weeks, until they washed up on shore in the Phillipines, and managed to make their way to safety from there.
Hopping also served on a minesweeper ship in the Korean War. During the war, both of Hopping’s parents died, and when he returned from service, Hopping took his inheritence and created the New Jersey Foundation. The foundation was a major supporter of many aquatic sports events, and commisioned works of art. In 1968, Hopping renamed the foundation the Kalos Kagathos Foundation, named after a Classical Greek phrase meaning the nobility of mind.
Over the next 50 years, Hopping’s foundation sponsored aquatic sports events in North America, South America, Europe, Asia, Australia, and Africa. He is a patron of the International Swimming Hall of Fame, Amateur Athletic Union, FINA, International Studies Abroad, California Interscholastic Federation, and Orange Coast College Rowing.