Mr. Radovich, owner of the John C. Radovich Development Co., died Dec. 27 of lymphoma. He was 79.

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Though prolific Seattle real-estate developer John Radovich never retired, his dedication to work came second to his faith and family.

“Once we all were grown up and moved out, we still gathered almost every weekend,” said Mr. Radovich’s eldest daughter, Jennifer Morgenstern, of Olympia. “That was a big deal to him, his family dining together and praying together.”

Mr. Radovich, owner of the John C. Radovich Development Co., died Dec. 27 of lymphoma. He was 79.

Born in Bremerton in 1932, Mr. Radovich was a longtime resident of Mercer Island and a parishioner of St. Monica Catholic Church for 48 years. A West Seattle High School graduate, he earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Washington in 1954.

Mr. Radovich’s commercial real-estate career began in 1961. Two years later he founded his company, specializing in buying and selling commercial property. In 1975 he and a partner bought the Newport Yacht Basin, a marina on the east side of Lake Washington, and converted the boat slips so they could be privately owned, a revolutionary move at the time.

“You’d never met anyone as passionate about his work as this man,” said his son, Nick Radovich, of Seattle, who has worked alongside his father at the company for six years and will succeed him.

Rebecca Davidson, who has worked for Mr. Radovich for 26 years, said in an email that her boss gained enduring loyalty from his employees, endearing himself to them with quick wit and honesty.

Mr. Radovich was instrumental in the founding of Sammamish’s Eastside Catholic School in 1980, rallying the local community for support, said his wife, Carol Ann Radovich. His eldest daughter was in the school’s first graduating class.

Mr. Radovich also gave financial support to help found Xavier College Preparatory High School in Palm Desert, Calif., near the couple’s winter home in Indian Wells. His philanthropy extended to several organizations, including Seattle’s Atlantic Street Center.

An outdoorsman, Mr. Radovich’s interest spanned from his front door — he had 70 rosebushes at his home in Mercer Island and 50 more in California — to fishing or hunting as far afield as Alaska. Mr. Radovich would happily golf 36 holes in a day, Nick Radovich said.

With his well-trained lab Beauregard by his side, a younger Mr. Radovich often went hunting for birds. In later years, he continued fishing and became a photographer; again, the interest became a passion.

Mr. Radovich’s pursuit of beauty extended to his business. In a 1988 bid to secure zoning for a building near a park, he defended his plan to a Seattle Times reporter: “I find looking at an office building is every bit as attractive as looking at the sky,” he said at the time.

“That sounds like John,” his wife said Tuesday, laughing.

In addition to wife Carol Ann, and children Nick and Jennifer, Mr. Radovich is survived by daughter Kate Nichols, of Bothell; a sister, Mary Jo Malone, of Poulsbo; and seven grandchildren.

A Mass was said Wednesday at St. Monica Catholic Church. A second memorial Mass will be said Jan. 13 at Sacred Heart Church in Palm Desert, Calif.

Lark Turner: 206-464-2761 or lturner@seattletimes.com