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Christopher J. Orenic, Dec. 12, 1957-Sept. 17, 2012

The Manhattan Beach husband and father has died unexpectedly. Memorial services are planned.

Dr. Christopher J. Orenic, a devoted father and loving husband, passed away unexpectedly on Sept. 17 from complications following heart surgery. He was 54.

Chris was widely known in the South Bay for having built a successful optometry business, Advanced Eyecare Center of Manhattan Beach, and for his active involvement in the community. He participated in and contributed to numerous school and sporting events. He also served on the Manhattan Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Board of Directors.

A gourmet chef, Chris loved cooking for family and friends. He was dedicated to his family and spent all his free time with his wife, Mary Claire, and their son, Christopher. He especially loved cheering on Christopher, who played on championship volleyball teams at Mira Costa High School, SCVC and USA Volleyball. This fall, Christopher entered USC as a member of the Men’s Volleyball Team.

A family man from the start, Chris was born Dec. 12, 1957, in Joliet, Illinois--the second of nine children born to Michael and Kathleen Orenic.

Growing up in Joliet, he was an outstanding student who was active in athletics and band. He graduated in 1975 from Joliet Catholic High School. He went to Barry University in Miami, Florida, and graduated cum laude in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in biology and a minor in chemistry.

In 1985, while working in Chicago, he met his wife-to-be, Mary Claire Van Bree. They moved to California, married on July 16, 1988, and were inseparable throughout their marriage. For both of them, the two best days of their lives were the day they married and the day of their son’s birth.

Chris graduated with distinction from the Southern California College of Optometry in 1992. He was in local, private practice for more than two decades, helping thousands of patients improve their vision and protect their eye health.  Chris is survived by his wife of 24 years, Mary Claire; their son, Christopher Kenneth; five brothers and three sisters, and 26 nieces and nephews. Services will be held at 2 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 21, at American Martyrs Church, 624 15th St., Manhattan Beach, CA 90266. In the spirit of Chris, the family requests Aloha attire. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to the Christopher Kenneth Orenic Education Fund at The Bank of Manhattan, 2141 Rosecrans Ave., Suite 1100, El Segundo, CA, 90245.

Jill Brunkhardt September 19, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Such a shock and tragedy! Chris was a wonderful man who will be greatly missed my many. My heart goes out to Mary Claire and Christopher. My thoughts and prayers are with you.
Michaelle Quinn September 20, 2012 at 01:09 AM
I cant believe it! I worked for Dr. O for many years. I will always remember his contagious smile. He was a great man and a pleasure to work for. My thoughts and prayers are with his family. He will be missed. Michaelle Quinn
Christy Keffeler September 20, 2012 at 01:47 AM
so sorry and saddened. what a wonderful family man and caring doctor. thoughts and prayers for his family!
Mr. Richard September 20, 2012 at 01:52 AM
It is beyond my comprehention.... Dr. O, I thank you for embracing my soul, supporting my career and allowing me the priveledge of being a part of your life and family since having Christopher in my class when he was 5. My prayers are with you Mary and Christopher... I am honored to be a very special part of your life. Mr. Richard Manhattan Beach CHILD DEVELOPMENT CENTER... (as it was when Lil Christopher was with us)
Christine Mignola September 20, 2012 at 02:00 AM
Really heartbroken...RIP...he was the greatest doctor, husband and father...will miss him...my thoughts are with his family...
Maria Rumpp September 20, 2012 at 02:34 AM
A gentle man with always a kind word, he had a great attitude at volleyball games, at the office and around town. Chris, he was so proud of you going to USC. Mary Clare, I didn't know you, (my son was on another team), but I cried for your pain all day today.So very sorry for you and your family.
Kyle Murphy September 20, 2012 at 04:49 AM
RIP Chris...you were an amazing father, husband, doctor, friend and human being. The world was a better place with you in it.
Lisa Argento September 20, 2012 at 05:45 AM
I am so sorry to hear about the unexpected passing of Dr. Orenic. He was a wonderful man and his smile could light up a room. My heart goes out to Mary Claire and Chris. You are in my thoughts and prayers and I am so sorry for your loss.
Liana Argento September 20, 2012 at 07:01 AM
Words can't express the sadness I feel about this tragic news! I worked with Dr. O for many years and he was a wonderful Dr. and a great boss. His quick wit and carefree manner made him endearing to both his patients and staff. He was a big "teddy bear" and I missed him terribly when he left our office. Mary Claire and Christopher, I can't imagine the heartache you are experiencing right now and I want you to know that you are in my thoughts and prayers. My sincere condolences to all of his family, friends, and staff. I know he will be missed. R.I.P. Dr. O; I'll never forget you...
Renee Sokol September 20, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Like so many, I am shocked and saddened by this news. Dr. Orenic, or "the King" as I knew him, was such a wonderful person and caring doctor. I know how much he loved his family, and my heart breaks for their loss. Gone too soon, but never forgotten. He touched the lives of so many. I am honored to have known him.
DDigilio September 20, 2012 at 03:17 PM
So sad to hear the news. My family and I were patients. Dr. Orenic was one of those wonderfully selfless people who made you enjoy even the most tricky of procedures. He always talked about how much he loved his family, his practice, and the community of Manhattan Beach. Sending good thoughts to all who knew him.
Alan Meersand September 20, 2012 at 03:41 PM
Dr. Orenic was a great human being. He was our family eye doctor to me, my late wife, and our 3 children. He was a friend who I got to know when I coached his son Chris in Little League. Recently we shared our pride in our son's athletic accomplishments and scholarships. This is a tragedy for his family, his friends, for Manhattan Beach, and for the South Bay. There is no possible way to describe the horrific pain his wife Mary Claire and son Chris are feeling. I hope that time, prayer, and support will help to lessen their grief.
Evan Hosie September 20, 2012 at 04:13 PM
Such a loss. He was a wonderful, "Good" man ...and those are in short supply.
Jodi L. Clark September 20, 2012 at 07:35 PM
What an unexpected tragedy. Dr. O was not only a terrific doctor but also a good, caring friend to everyone he knew. He had a heart of gold and I will never forget him. My heart is broken for Mary Claire and Christopher and they are in my thoughts and prayers during this difficult time.
cinthia September 20, 2012 at 08:51 PM
I am so saddened to hear this news. Dr. Orenick was always a pleasure to visit as a patient--kind, gentle, caring and personable. He will be truly missed. Blessings to his beloved wife and son. Cinthia Joyce
Reina Mensink September 20, 2012 at 09:34 PM
Our family is so saddened by this news. We were his patients for many years. He was always quick to ask my sons how they were doing in school and then I would in turn ask about his son. He alway spoke so highly of his wife and son. A great man of integrity. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family. May they be comforted during such a difficult time.
Robert Chamberlain September 21, 2012 at 03:28 AM
Chris was a great guy. Our familys met through Pacific Elementary, AYSO MBYB and Little League. He had a great disposition and was a man of integrity. All in my family are saddened by the news
Debbie Kantor September 21, 2012 at 05:25 AM
My many condolences to the Orenic family. My heart is truly crushed to hear of his passing. Dr. Orenic has always been one of my favorite people. It was over 16 years ago that my mom took me to see him and it was four years ago that i took my husband to his practice. I truly enjoyed being a patient of his. He was so caring and seem so genuinely interested in keeping up with our family news. My husband and I really bonded with him over his sons volleyball career. I always enjoyed reading the daily breeze sports section and seeing Christopher's name in the paper because I knew how proud of a father he was of his son. We would also see he and his wife walking, holding hands on the strand. He was so loving and a true gentleman. Dr. O - RIP, you were an amazing doctor, father, husband and man! You will be missed by so many!!
Yvette Majeske September 21, 2012 at 08:43 PM
The Majeske family just heard of the passing of Dr. Orenic he will be missed! He had a wonderful smile and was so friendly. We were patients of his and lived close by. I will miss running into him at the stores & gym. Our prayers go out to his wife & son and family. Yvette, Steve & Auggie Majeske
Julie Brancato September 22, 2012 at 03:47 AM
Dr.O was the best doctor our family could of asked for! He was kind, caring, and concerned about our family. My husband was very young when he started going to see him...way before his amazing practice he worked at Sears! I requested Dr.0 To my entire staff at Grand View Elementary!! We all respected him and speak fondly of him! You will be sorely missed by my family and many of my friends! Julie Brancato
Keith November 07, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Called to make an appointment today...didn't know, he was a great doctor, and seemed like a great person, full of humor, kindness, and a pride for his family. He will be greatly missed, my thoughts and prayers to all of his family and friends. He truly was not just a great doctor, but a great man.
Miguel November 09, 2012 at 06:25 AM
It is very unexpected, wow. My thoughts go the family. I knew Dr. Orenic, as an entering optometry student shadowing him for a few hours before he started his own practice. He was very good with patients. Now as an optometrist myself, I think the community has lost a great doctor.

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