In Loving Memory

Marcel F. Pitz, owner of Dizz’s As Is restaurant

Submitted photo

Marcel F. Pitz

With heavy hearts, the Pitz, McConnell and O’Keefe families announce the passing of Marcel Pitz, a cherished father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather and uncle. Marcel was born on April 1, 1937, in Belgium, and peacefully departed on March 3, 2024, at the age of 86, in Laguna Beach, Calif. He leaves behind his daughters, Line O’Keefe and Chantale McConnell, and son Dominic Pitz, all residing in his beloved Laguna Beach. Marcel was preceded in passing by his wife, Monique, and his son, Marc Pitz.

Fondly remembered, Marcel touched the lives of many here in Laguna Beach. His legacy extends through his grandchildren: Michael, Adrian, Nicholas, Nathan, Nolan, Taylor, Makenna, Mason, Anika, Mia and Karina. Additionally, he is survived by great-grandchildren Victoria, Valerie, McKayla, Harper, Charlotte, and yes, one great-great-granddaughter, Gigi. Marcel’s impact reaches across continents, as he is also remembered by several nieces, nephews, and other family members in the United States, Canada and Europe.

Marcel’s culinary journey started at the Liege Culinary School in Belgium. In 1957, he moved to Montreal, Canada, where he encountered the love of his life, Monique Verpaelst. After a visit in 1964, together with their two daughters and one more on the way, they relocated to Laguna Beach. Their decision was influenced by the remarkable weather they experienced during a vacation visit to Marcel’s parents and his sister, Monique Fallou.

Marcel’s culinary career took root in Laguna, where he started at Victor Hugo’s as a sous chef, working alongside his brother-in-law, Jean Fallou and his father, Richard Pitz. Later, Marcel and Jean continued their journey at Langlois Fancy Frozen Foods after Marcel Langlois sold the Victor Hugo Inn. However, Marcel’s true legacy lies in Dizz’s As Is restaurant, which he established in Laguna Beach. Alongside his wife, Monique, and his kids, they transformed the establishment into a beloved landmark over the last 45-plus years, serving exquisite continental cuisine in a charming 1920s cottage.

Marcel’s passion for the culinary arts was inherited from his father, Richard, an esteemed pastry chef in Belgium during the 1930s, 1940s and early 1950s. Rather than following in his father’s footsteps as a pastry chef, Marcel’s expertise as a saucier led to Dizz’s success. His unforgettable sauces became synonymous with the restaurant’s legacy. Dizz’s stands as the oldest continuously operated restaurant in Laguna Beach, and perhaps even in Orange County, under the same ownership – a testament to Marcel’s dedication and culinary prowess.

Beyond the kitchen, Marcel enjoyed the great outdoors. Camping, backpacking, fishing, hunting and skiing were his passions, shared with friends and family. He was one with nature, capable of navigating any predicament, no matter how lost he might have been. Marcel was also an avid sports enthusiast, particularly passionate about “futbol” (soccer). He played, coached, refereed and watched the game, though he was equally known for passionately expressing his opinions about referees’ calls. Born on April Fool’s Day, Marcel’s playful spirit and love for jokes persisted until the very end, often accompanied by a mischievous wink.

Marcel will truly be missed by all.

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