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Ray Bryson

July 4, 1930 – February 20, 2022

Obituary Ray Bryson

Courtesy of the Bryson family

Ray Auldon Bryson

RIP Ray Auldon Bryson, born 4 July 1930 in Los Angeles, CA. Raised in Bakersfield, CA, graduated Bakersfield High School in 1949, University of Redlands in 1953, Berkeley Seminary in 1956. Resident of Laguna Beach for 56 years. Died 20 February 2022 after moving to Escondido, CA in February 2021.

Wed his wife of over 68 years, Ruth Charlene (Cain) Bryson, on 7 June 1953 in Redlands, CA.

Ray was an ordained American Baptist minister, married his three children, four of his grandchildren, and numerous family and friends. But his career was as a teacher, including 30 years teaching Social Studies at Horace Ensign Junior High in Newport Beach, CA, before retiring in 1992.

His greatest loves included his family and friends, being a member of South Shores Church for nearly 60 years, telling enthralling stories, eating (a lot), fixating on everything Danish, taking cruises with his wife and offspring, meeting new friends along the way, working on scrapbooks of his journeys, his ocean view from his Laguna Beach hillside house, being a “living model” in the Laguna Beach Pageant of the Masters, and listening to the “holy trinity” of classical music: Wagner, Beethoven and Verdi.

He is best remembered for those spellbinding stories (many personalized versions of E.A. Poe stories), his weird sense of humor and perhaps the worst fashion sense in the history of the planet. Witness his loud and clashing ties, shirts and “trousers”.

Preceded in death by mother LaRue, father Auldon, stepmother Sylvia and brother Ronnie.

Survived by his wife, three children and spouses (Richard & Uldine Bryson, Kathryn & Fred Adams, Randal & Teresa Bryson) seven grandchildren (Alysa, Nathan, Karen, Steven, Angeline, Peter, Dianna), four great-grandchildren (Jackson, Wesley, Evelyn, Xander) and two brothers (Joe, Dax).

We love you and expect you to prepare a place for all of us to join you in heaven,

–Your loving family.

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Letters to the Editor

A “must see” show

I heard that Wells Fargo Bank had taken down the Allyson Allen quilt show from its second-floor art gallery. Whatever made the show so controversial that it would be taken down after having been completely hung made it a “must see” show for me. So, when it was rehung at the Neighborhood (Congregational) Church on St. Ann’s Drive, I went to see it.

Shame on Wells Fargo! Fabric art is the latest fine art medium and I was blown away by Allyson Allen’s work. Each piece not only speaks volumes but, the quilting quality and creative genius is clearly the work of a master. It is an outstanding and timely exhibit. 

It is not a BLM show as some have asserted but addresses so many of the injustices all around us. Including rape and animal rights. But what makes Allyson Allen’s art so impressive is her quilting and creative style. She juxtaposes contrasting fabrics to create clear images that not only tell a story and convey a message, but also demonstrate far advanced quilting techniques. Her amazing skills set this show apart from other art and quilt shows. It is one of the most powerful contemporary shows I have been to in a long time. Pictures don’t do it justice. You cant capture her three-dimensional quilting techniques or unique background patterns in a photo. It is a “must see” show.

Jessica DeStefano 

Laguna Beach

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Dr. Richard Squire Jonas

September 25, 1928 – February 16, 2022

Obituary Dr. Richard Jonas

Courtesy of the Jonas family

Dr. Richard Squire Jonas

The Jonas family and friends are deeply sad to announce the passing of our beloved husband, father, grandfather and friend, Richard Squire Jonas, M.D. We are also proud to share the story of his remarkable life.

He was born in Glendale, CA on September 25, 1928. He was the son of a Los Angeles ceramics factory owner and a doctor’s daughter who had come to California as a young couple on an adventure, arriving from the East Coast just in time for the Great Depression. As a child, Dick was known as “Blackie” for his jet black hair, and was a hard working student who was liked by his fellow classmates with whom he developed a balance of work and play that he enjoyed life long. His humor and warmth moved everyone who met him. At age 17 at a backwards dance at Glendale High School, he met 16-year-old Johann Wertz and the two immediately fell in love. Their first dates included a night at the Los Angeles Palladium Theater, where they heard Doris Day sing “Sentimental Journey” with the Les Brown Orchestra, a song that would remind them of their early months for the ensuing seven decades of life together.

The two went to UCLA where they joined the social world of the fraternities and sororities Phi Kappa Psi and Pi Beta Phi, meeting many of the people who would remain their life-long friends. Then he joined the ROTC. When he received his BA in Public Health from UCLA in 1951, he was commissioned in the Medical Service Corps. He and Johann married not once (January 28, 1950), not twice (June 1951), but three times (August 1951), thanks to a snafu in the rules of marrying before receiving his military orders. The three marriage certificates were framed together and hung next to their bed for the rest of their lives, reminding everyone of their remarkable connection and its clear spirit of humor and love.

As a member of the U.S. Navy, Dick was shipped off to serve in the Korean War as Lieutenant. He received the Bronze Star in 1954.

After Korea, Dick went to USC Medical School on the GI Bill and chose to go into private practice as an OB/GYN. The young couple vetted various Southern California communities before choosing Newport Beach to start his practice and raise a family. Starting in 1958 with their first son, Stephan, followed in 1966 with Christopher, and then, as a total surprise when Dick was 41, with Jason in 1969, the family grew as did Dick’s OB/GYN medical practice.

He said, “as a doctor, the most important part of your work is to take the time to listen to and serve your patients,” a quality that made him beloved by his patients, and earned the respect of the nurses and doctors who worked alongside him. Over his 30 years of practicing medicine, Dick delivered thousands of children, many of whom were the granddaughters of his original patients. He was an avid advocate for women’s reproductive rights, culminating in service on the Board of Directors of Planned Parenthood of Southern California.

Dick and Johann, passionate supporters of the emerging Southern California contemporary art world, were early members of the Newport Harbor Art Museum, which later became the Orange County Museum of Art.

In 1979, after the commercial expansion of the Santa Ana Airport and the resulting jet noise that was a constant presence in their home in Newport Beach, the family moved to Laguna Beach, finding a beautiful home on a hillside of pine trees in Emerald Bay. There, the Pacific Ocean was a constant fascination for Dick and his family, watching the migration of the California Gray Whales, some 15,000 sunsets, and was the backdrop for many gatherings with Dick and Johann’s remarkable circle of friends. At age 60, Dick retired early to ski in Mammoth, play tennis, travel, and enjoy daily life with his beloved Johann.

The original house burned in the 1993 Laguna Beach fire and they rebuilt a beautiful art-filled house in its place, created in anticipation of many years of happy life together that came to be there. Motivated by that same fire, serving on the Emerald Bay Community Board, Dick led an effort to better prepare the community for future fires by creating wider fire breaks and community response plans. Amazingly, only two weeks before his death, in the February 2022 Emerald Fire which was in many ways a repeat of the 1990s fire, was this time not able to penetrate the community. Dick’s efforts preserved not only their own house but also those of his neighbors.

Dr. Richard Squire Jonas passed away February 16, 2022 of a heart attack, just over 76 years after his first date with Johann. He died, held in love by his family, grandchildren and his many friends, and fellow community members. He lived 93 years of a richly loving, successful and honorable life of service, generosity, humor, medicine, friendship, family, and still deeply in love with Johann. He will be missed. We love you, Papa.

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Letters to the Editor

There may yet be an answer to liking our crows

I recently read and heard on the German news that in Sweden there are folks who are training crows, yes crows, to pick up cigarette butts from the ground. If they do and take them to certain containers, the crows get a treat. Crows being a very smart bird, would find this fun and rewarding I would think. People have complained about crows in this town (we are an official bird sanctuary) – does anyone want to volunteer and start this new environmentally safe trend? 

Ganka Brown

Laguna Beach

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In Loving Memory of Lewis Manford Tarter

In Loving Memory Tarter

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

May 30, 1942 – January 30, 2022

Lewis was a wonderful husband, father, brother and a friend to many in the community. Celebration of Life services will be held on March 19 at 2 p.m. at The Woman’s Club located at 286 St. Ann’s Drive, Laguna Beach.

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Letters to the Editor

Passing the Initiative is good for Laguna Beach and good for the environment

I do not want there to be large monolithic structures in Laguna Beach. Their construction creates an enormous problem, by having an adverse effect on climate change, creating a further crisis.

Adaptive reuse keeps the culture of an area alive. In communities like Laguna Beach, it maintains the culturally significant sites that would otherwise be left to decay or demolished to create room for new buildings and parking lots.

Adaptive reuse is also a form of sustainable urban renewal.

The greenest buildings are the ones that already exist. All the emissions released in construction, from fabrication to delivery to assembly...the fossil fuels burned to create raw construction materials and move them to the site, the carbon released in making concrete, makes up 49% of the total carbon emissions of new global construction. Trees felled for timber are already embodied in existing structures.

Waste is also an issue, with building-related construction and demolition debris amounting to 26% of all nonindustrial waste generated in the United States.

There is already an abundance of retail and hospitality space in Laguna. Why not renew and reuse those empty commercial buildings and stores, rather than tear them down. Preserving old buildings is more sustainable than demolishing a building and starting from new. It takes about 65 years for an energy-efficient new building to pay back the amount of energy lost in demolishing an existing building, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

I want Laguna Beach to commit to be part of the solution to Climate Change, and not by merely being water wise. I support this ballot initiative and want the voters to have input on every major development project, as our city evolves and changes, to mitigate the impact each major project has on our neighborhoods and our climate. Supporting this ballot initiative may be the way to save what we treasure about Laguna Beach and reduce our carbon footprint by using the power of our votes.

Jahn Levitt

Laguna Beach

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Letters to the Editor

Agree, “when they’re gone, they’re gone”

Thanks to Mr. Johnson for his sympathetic account of the preservation community’s concerns about the Coastal Commission’s decision to make historic preservation largely voluntary in Laguna Beach (Feb. 11, 2022 edition). We share his disappointment and appreciate the acknowledgment that despite the city’s assurances that nothing will change, of course that is not true. As he says, when the historic properties are gone, they’re gone.

I do want to correct one statement. The new ordinance and other amendments to the Local Coastal Program are not limited to residential properties. They apply to all locally eligible historic resources including commercial properties (many of the buildings on Forest, Ocean and Coast Highway, for example), and civic buildings (such as the Municipal Water Building, next to City Hall). The transformation of Laguna’s built environment would extend well beyond its residential neighborhoods, affecting every aspect of our town if the changes are allowed to go into effect. 

Catherine Jurca

Laguna Beach

Mask mandate expires tomorrow

Beginning (tomorrow) Wednesday, everyone who lives in Laguna and is fully vaccinated and boosted can finally shop indoors again without face coverings. The only glitch is this: Unvaccinated people still will be required to wear masks indoors. Unless the unprotected are wearing something like a bright orange patch complete with the letters U.V. printed on them, how will anyone know who is and isn’t vaxxed? 

To date, millions of Californians have refused to roll up their sleeves and take the jab. Because I doubt any of them will wear an orange patch, I suggest that, once the mask mandate is lifted, authorities immediately begin to fine unvaccinated/unmasked indoor shoppers. How much should they be? Start at $250 for the first violation, followed by $500 for a second violation. A third violation would cost $1,000 and a fourth $2,000 plus 5 days in jail. 

Like a toll road payment, if a ticketed shopper fails to pay his or her fine within five days of it being issued, a 20 percent late fee automatically will be added to the total amount due. In my opinion, if the reluctants won’t get jabbed in the arm, then jab them where it really will make a difference – in their pocketbooks. 

This year marks the third year in our war against COVID. Now that three vaccines are readily available, the vast majority of hospitalizations and deaths occur among the unvaccinated. I, for one, don’t want to spend another day wondering if an unmasked shopper passing me in Ralphs or Hobie Sport is vaccinated or not. Starting tomorrow, I’m guessing fully vaxxed and boosted shoppers will feel the same way.

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach

Too many hoops are making my re-build difficult, and causing harm to our beaches and ocean

I love Laguna Beach and would like to make you aware of how the local government, in particular the Public Works Dept., are making decisions that are detrimental to our beautiful beach and ocean and are contrary to one of the prime directives of the California Coastal Commission which is to mitigate runoff that flows into our ocean. 

I am building a new home on my old home lot that I lived at for over 15 years. Despite approval by the DRB to have the mandated parking area be covered with permeable pavers, the Public Works Dept. has instead superseded this decision and states they want the area covered with asphalt or cement. This obviously creates more runoff which goes directly into the ocean instead of percolating into the ground the way nature intended. 

In addition, the heat emanated from such a hard surface contributes to the warming of our environment. This is not the first change they have made. Drainage from my home was initially to be managed by a large French drain, which was dug during construction and handled all rain runoff without issue, including during the most recent rainstorm during which we had more inches of rain for two days than we have had in over 20 years. 

Instead, they now want water collected in a tank and pumped uphill, to run down the street. This obviously creates more runoff directly into our ocean. 

Understandably, I am upset by these changes which have no basis on current recommendations by the California Coastal Commission and are obviously contradictory to best practices. I think we Laguna Beach residents need be aware of how the city government is making decisions that affect the quality of our beach and ocean in adverse ways. 

Thank you for your time.

E. Orrillo Blas, M.D.

Laguna Beach

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In Memory of Henry “Lawson” Mead

November 12, 1941 – January 16, 2022

In Memory of Henry Mead

Courtesy of the Mead family

Henry “Lawson” Mead

Henry “Lawson” Mead, age 80, peacefully passed away on Sunday, Jan. 16, 2022, from complications with cancer, surrounded by his family and love. Born in Santa Ana and raised in Orange Park Acres, he attended Orange High School, and received his bachelor’s degree and law degree from USC. After Lawson’s year-long travel around the world, he was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1969 and practiced law until his retirement in 2015.

A resident of Laguna Beach for more than 50 years, he loved working in his landmark garden and sharing it with the community. His “Jungle with the Tarzan Tree House” at the intersection of Monterey/Locust received the Laguna Beach Beautification Council Award of Merit and was a stop on the Laguna Beach Garden Club tour.

A devoted father, brother, uncle and friend, he loved to entertain and bring people together. He is survived by his children James “Calvin” Mead and Danielle Bearden-Mead, his brother John “Calvin” Mead and his dog Crimson. In Lawson’s own words, “It’s been a slice a heaven.”

For information on his Celebration of Life on Saturday, Feb. 26 from 5-8 p.m., please join the Remembering Henry Lawson Mead Facebook Memorial Group. In lieu of flowers, plant a succulent and hug a loved one!

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Letters to the Editor

Rather than censorship…dialogue

First off, kudos to Pastor Rod and the Neighborhood Congregational Church for inviting Allyson Allen and her quilts to the Bridge Hall space. I’m hoping this wasn’t the only invitation from community leaders.

The recent removal of the art exhibit at the Wells Fargo bank in Laguna Beach raised serious concerns among many of us as artists and members of the community. Upon reflection, I would like to suggest that both CAP and Wells Fargo missed an excellent opportunity to provide education and communication about censorship and the role of the arts and community arts organizations in today’s divisive and polarized society.

CAP states that its mission is “To increase the visibility and appreciation of art and serve as a catalyst for arts education.” It would seem that this event would have been an excellent opportunity to fulfill its mission on several levels.

What if, instead of pulling that pre-approved and city-funded exhibit, the key players, i.e., the manager of Wells Fargo Bank and the Board of CAP had engaged in a discussion to explore ways to allow a dialogue of the concerns/issues?

–What if the artist had been invited and agreed to a session that was open to community members, as well as artists, CAP members, etc. to review her focus and purpose for the exhibit, and a chance to respond to the bank’s clients who were uncomfortable with the show?

–What if Wells Fargo had designed signage that informed its clients that the show, on the second floor, was designed to address current political/social issues with which they might disagree, but that the bank, at the corporate level, had approved the show and felt it was of such a quality and integrity that they were committed to showing the work.

–What if CAP had assessed its own membership, prior to pulling that show, to get their opinions and recommendations as to where or how the show should be handled if WF insisted on pulling it?

Laguna Beach has several significant community arts organizations. Wasn’t it possible that at least one or more of them would have come to CAP’s side to support them? Are we all so wary of dissent that we won’t raise our voices when this type of censorship is allowed?

Surely we are capable of finding alternatives to ensuring that this type of censorship won’t become a common practice in a city dedicated to the arts.  Please reassure me that we can resolve such issues without backing down and out from commitments that were made in good faith with an accomplished artist such as Allyson Allen.


Carole Zavala

CZ Associates

Laguna Beach

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In Loving Memory

Steven James Hernandez

Sunrise, April 8, 1987 – Sunset, December 20, 2021

In Loving Memory Hernandez

Photos courtesy of Tony’s Treehouse

Steven James Hernandez

Our Treehouse Family is grieving a deep loss. My beloved nephew, Steven Hernandez, passed away on Dec. 20, 2021. He was 34, and like a son to me and Sue.

In honor of his big, loving life, we’ve started the Steven Hernandez Memorial Fund. We’re working out the details, who the Fund will help and how. 

Stay tuned.

Our Holiday Adopt A Family event photos taken by @PictureSomething will be shared soon on social media and email. We made our final gift deliveries on December 17, and for the first time, delivered a donated vehicle to one of our families in need. There’s a lot of good news to share, we’re just working with a broken wing right now.

Thank you for your loving support during this most difficult time for our Treehouse Family.

Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

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