Notable passings of 2012

January 03, 2013|By Barbara Diamond

Some stories are harder to write than others. Obituaries are among the hardest, as the represent an obligation to do justice to the folks who have passed and hopefully to bring solace to their loved ones.

Some of Laguna's best and brightest died in 2012, but memories of them linger.

Among them, in chronological order:

Cartoonist John Lara


John Lara, whose irreverent cartoons appeared in Laguna Beach, Orange County and national newspapers, died Jan. 15 of complications from lupus. He was 57.

Friends and admirers packed the Little Church by the Sea for the memorial service — which like John's life, was filled with laughter and tears.

John's political and social commentaries in cartoon form appeared in the Chicago Sun Times, Copley News Service, the Orange County Register, the Laguna News Post and the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. His first job was with the Newport Ensign.


"We worked together at the Ensign," said best-selling author T. Jefferson Parker. "It was our first jobs and we became friends.

"He was so talented, so full of life and energy, he was a pleasure to be around.

"John saw other people's foibles without seeing himself as better than they were."


World War II Veteran Dan Huston


Long-time Laguna Beach resident and member of the Orange County Freedom Committee of veterans Dan Huston died March 15, just hours before he was scheduled to speak about his war experiences to high school students.

Dan earned 10 battle stars and two air medals as a pilot in the Naval Air Corps.

He knew the cost of victory and he tried to communicate that in his talks to students and community groups, according to Sarah Peters, who wrote about Huston's life and death in the March 30 edition of the Coastline Pilot.

Dan was also active as a Little League coach, a member of the Laguna Optimist Club, a supporter of the Pageant of the Masters, and a community watchdog who made his observances known to the public via commentaries in local papers.

"As a self-appointed city curmudgeon, I feel it is my duty to keep our community aware of what those rascals at City Hall are doing or not doing," Dan wrote in one letter to the editor of the Coastline Pilot.

Dan ran for City Council as a write-in candidate in 2004 on a platform that included the construction of a downtown parking structure.


Emmy Award-Winner Bob Henry


Bob Henry died March 18 at his Laguna Beach home after a long illness. He was 92.

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