Philanthropists Elaine and Robert Matranga Make a Transformational Gift to Establish the Elaine & Robert Matranga Aortic Center at Hoag
Her superb backwards skating skills caught his eye. When he leaned over the rail to get a better look, she saw him and winked. This chance encounter was the start of Robert and Elaine Matranga’s 64-year love story.
Although they both attended Newport Harbor High, Robert and Elaine first noticed each other at the Costa Mesa roller rink. Robert had just moved to Orange County from Arcadia. Elaine was a Huntington Beach native. She taught him how to skate, and when they graduated, he asked her to marry him. They immediately bought a home in Costa Mesa and started a family, becoming proud parents to a son and two daughters.
Building a Family Legacy
Early in their marriage, Robert worked to establish himself in the construction business. After partnering in various construction ventures, he started Bomel Construction in 1969. He and his partner landed a contract to build K-Mart stores all over the western U.S., a job that required weekly travel.
Robert says appreciatively of Elaine, “I give her a lot of credit for taking the bulk of the responsibility of raising the kids those first five years.” Elaine reflects, “It was tough when he was gone but we made it work and we made the most of our weekends together.” With her support, Robert’s efforts paid off. Today, Bomel Construction has grown to over 700 employees and is one of the largest concrete contractors in the U.S.
Nine grandkids and eight great-grandchildren later, Robert is now retired, but the company has truly grown into a family affair. Their oldest, Kent, now serves as president. Youngest, Lisa, is the Chief Financial Officer. Daughter Karen’s husband NAME also helps head up the company. Elaine even pitched in for ten years to babysit her grandchildren allowing daughter Lisa to grow her career. Four grandchildren are also a part of the company, representing the third generation to carry on in the family business.
It’s Different at Hoag
Robert and Elaine’s first encounter with Hoag was as newlyweds when Robert slipped in the shower, putting his arm through the glass door. His lacerated elbow required stitches in Hoag’s ER. Their three kids were born at Hoag and two of their grandkids were, too. Robert got involved with Hoag Hospital Foundation’s 552 Club, “way back when it was just a fishing tournament.” Robert notes that, “every time Elaine and I have been at Hoag, we sensed a family feeling –– it’s just different at Hoag.”
The couple, who have been longtime donors, made a transformational gift of $3M. In recognition, Hoag named the Elaine & Robert Matranga Aortic Center at Hoag’s Jeffrey M. Carlton Heart & Vascular Institute. Elaine says, “We’ve been very fortunate and are now at a point in our lives where we can do this.” True to his builder’s roots, Robert was excited to be able to fulfill a need. He explains, “This new Center will enable doctors to quickly diagnose an aortic problem that is separate from a heart attack which directly benefits patients.”
“The Matranga’s generous gift will further what we can accomplish, and it will be utilized to its fullest extent,” says Anthony Caffarelli, MD, Newkirk Family Endowed Chair in Aortic Care and Director of Hoag Cardiac Surgery, Elaine and Robert Matranga Aortic Center. “State of the art technology improves outcomes. And the Matranga Aortic Center will be able to accomplish just that.”
Robert and Elaine certainly have a heart for giving and they hope that the legacy of their philanthropy translates into more people being inspired to give. In philanthropy, just as in business, Elaine proudly notes, “We’re builders.”