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Ladera Ranch Director Jeff Blugrind Dead at 44

A man instrumental in shaping the identity of Ladera Ranch has died.

Jeff Blugrind, volunteer and civic leader of Ladera Ranch, died Oct. 18. He was 44.

He died of suicide, according to various sources including LaderaPortal.com, a website whose creators supported Blugrind when he ran for and won a director position with the Ladera Ranch Maintenance Corporation in 2005.

Scott Blugrind said he last saw his brother at a birthday party last week. Scott said his brother had big plans for the future, including DJ gigs at the Disney California Adventure Park and interviews with Shaquille O'Neal and Oscar Villaraigosa.

Scott remembered growing up with his brother in Tarzana.

"He was just so smart," the brother said. "He could take an electronic toy and take it apart and put it together without any instructions."

Scott said his brother wanted to be a DJ his whole life. First he volunteered at an ice skating rink at the Topanga Plaza in Canoga Park. He later opened his own video production company and continued to DJ.

Blugrind's volunteerism was well known in the community. From DJing at Chaparral Elementary to helping run Easter egg hunts and Octoberfest, Blugrind lent a hand in many ways.

"I saw him everywhere," said Jerry Breig, whose four children attended Chaparral. "Every event, every presentation, he was always there. He was one of the main volunteers."

Blugrind was a commissioner for The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo. He was on the advisory committee at the Orange County Fire Authority. Since 2007 he hosted the video series "Focus On," which spotlighted Orange County events and facilities.

"He had so much going on," his brother said. "So many people loved him and respected him. He was a volunteer. He was a stay-at-home dad during the week. He always made everyone laugh."

Support has been streaming in for Blugrind's family. Here are memories and messages of support drawn form readers of the Ladera Portal Facebook page:

"Jeff was one of the most talented, kind-hearted, hard-working people I met while I covered Ladera Ranch. I am truly shocked and saddened." —Eugene Fields, Reporter

"Jeff was so loved, and If we knew he was going through a tough time we would have been there to help." —Kim Giambalvo Sprague 

"My family and I are shocked and stunned by Jeff's death. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Blugrind family and all those who loved him. He gave so much more than he received. I shall miss him greatly." —Chuck Gibson

OCFA Battalion Chief Scott Brown had this to say on ranchoortega.com: "Jeff contributed on so many levels – he was instrumental in helping the Orange County Fire Authority and the City of Mission Viejo in the development of the Community Emergency Preparedness Academy – he was also first to help out the American Red Cross in their yearly Disaster Preparedness Academy; I could share many more stories – Jeff was an extremely talented, energetic and committed member of our community, we are forever greatful for his creative body of work – God Speed Jeff."

Blugrind is survived by his daughter Rachel, 13.

Suicide Prevention

Suicidal thoughts and feelings should always be taken seriously, experts say. If you believe you're at risk for ending your life, call 911 or visit the nearest hospital emergency room for an evaluation. You can also click one of the links below or call one of the toll-free, 24-hour hotlines listed below.

Suicide Prevention Resource Center
American Association of Suicidology
Mental Health America

Emergency Psychiatric Evaluation in Orange County: 866-830-6011 or 714-834-6900

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 800-273-8255      

Youth Crisis Hotline: 800-448-4663      

Charles October 23, 2012 at 01:04 AM
It's hard to imagine why an apparently physically healthy man living in a beautiful community with a 13 year old daughter would commit suicide.
Wendy Katz October 26, 2012 at 07:46 PM
So sad. A big loss for his family, friends and Ladera.

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