YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio — Edward J. DeBartolo, a pioneer in the development of regional shopping malls in the Sixties, died Monday at age 85.
DeBartolo, who was chairman of the Edward J. DeBartolo Corp. and vice chairman of DeBartolo Realty Corp., both here, died from complications of pneumonia following a short illness, according to a spokeswoman for DeBartolo Realty.
Founded in 1944, the DeBartolo Corp. has become the world’s largest shopping center development and management firm, with more than 200 shopping centers in 20 states. The company began as a developer of shopping plazas after DeBartolo recognized the business opportunity created by the post- World War II population shift to the suburbs.
Today, the family companies’ diversified operations include office towers, hotels, condominiums and professional sports teams.
Born Anthony Paonessa in 1909, DeBartolo took the name of his stepfather during high school as a tribute. He worked side by side in the construction business with his stepfather from the age of 13 until attending Notre Dame University.
He is survived by his son, Edward J. DeBartolo Jr., chairman of DeBartolo Realty and president and chief executive officer of DeBartolo Corp.; a daughter, Marie Denise DeBartolo York, vice chairman of DeBartolo Corp.; three sisters, and one brother.
There will be private services for family members.