"To the end, he remained my darling John," said Katy Weld, his
wife of 67 years. "But he wasn't happy. He wanted to come home and
not be with strangers."
The Welds met when he was working as a screenwriter in Hollywood
in 1932. This was John's second try for a career in Tinseltown, where
he had worked years earlier as a stunt man. She was an actress with
the stage name of Gigi Parrish, a rising star and the most "beautiful
woman" he had ever seen, he wrote in the foreword of one of his
After a complicated courtship, the couple moved to Laguna Beach in
1937, where John eventually opened a Ford dealership in 1948, after
years as chief copywriter for Ford Motor Co.
They published the Laguna Beach Post from 1949 to 1965 in
partnership with "Bud" Desenberg. Katy managed the office. John wrote
"Our Town," a very personal column -- often hilarious, sometimes
bawdy -- featured for 18 years on the front page. It always ended
with "Laguna I love you."
A compendium of the columns was published in book form in 1996.
The late Phil Interlandi illustrated it. It was the ninth book of the
10 John had published. The last was a biography of actor Walter
Houston, a friend from John's sojourn in Europe in the 1920s.
John and Katy were a welcome addition to Laguna's active social,
business and civic circles. He was an organizer of the South Coast
Community Hospital, now South Coast Medical Center, and served on its
board, including a stint as president.
The paper later was sold to Vern Spitaleri, who merged it with the
South Coast News to form the Laguna News Post.
"I respected him, Spitaleri said. "When I put together a Vision
Committee 30 years ago. I chose a broad spectrum of people and I
picked Weld. I needed people like him. He was a good thinker.
"We are going to miss him, I can tell you that."
John Weld was born in 1905 in Birmingham, Alabama. His father died
just months after his son was born. While his mother worked to
support the family, John attended military academies in Birmingham
After an unsuccessful try at a career in New York vaudeville, John
crewed for a year on a freighter, saving as much money as he could.