Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association Trust Fund
The Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association Trust Fund was created to promote ocean lifesaving through public education, lifeguard development and educational exchanges.
Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon
June 10, 2023
LACOLA Media and Communications Director, Erin O'Donnell and Norton Wisdom (Sculptor) presenting Mark Montgomery the Bronze Savage upon his retirement at the 2019 Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon.
2020 Los Angeles Lifeguard Medal of Valor Dinner
2020 Los Angeles Lifeguard Medal of Valor Dinner
L.A. Co. Fire Chief Daryl Osby and L.A. Co. Lifeguard Chief Fernando Boiteux receiving the award for the Lifeguard COVID response team
Lifeguard Alumni and LACOLA Trust News
Passing of Sheila Douglas
Sheila Douglas passed away after a short-term illness on Saturday, March 4, 2023 at the age of 79. Sheila, wife of Ocean Lifeguard Dick Douglas, mother of Lifeguard Captain Dan Douglas, Ocean Lifeguards Craig Douglas and Todd Douglas, grandmother of Ocean Lifeguard Jake Douglas and Hanna Douglas. Sheila spent over two decades as the coordinator of the Dwight Crum Pier-to-Pier Swim and as Treasurer of the International Surf Festival.
Dr. Michael Mammone Fatally Attacked
Alumni Ocean Lifeguard Michael Mammone, 58, was tragically murdered while riding his bicycle on Pacific Coast Highway in Dana Point. Michael was struck from behind by a motorist. The motorist then got out of his car and repeatedly stabbed Michael. The motive for the crime is unknown.
Passing of Bobby Beathard
Lifeguard and legendary NFL general manager Bobby Beathard, who was part of four Super Bowl winning teams during a professional tenure that lasted nearly four decades, died Monday, January 29, 2023, at the age of 86 at his Franklin, Tennessee home.
Bobby Beathard - NFL Hall of Fame
Passing of Richard "Dick" Kaiser
Dick Kaiser passed away on November 25, 2022, he was 84 years old. Dick competed for Beverly Hill High School, Santa Monica City College, and San Fernando Valley State College where he was an art major. He was a lifeguard for the City of Santa Monica from 1958 to 1964, where he worked with lifeguard legends Rudy Kroon, Rickey Gregg and Tom Zahn.
After College Dick worked as an Art Director for several major ad agencies. Dick was also a photographer and instructor at the Art Institute for 20-years.
Passing of Kemp Aaberg
Kemp Aaberg passed away on Sunday, November 6, 2022, in the afternoon after taking to bed for about two weeks because of weakness from Parkinson’s Disease. He had stopped eating and drinking and passed peacefully at home.
Kemp graduated from Uni-High School, LA, then went on to the University of Santa Barbara, getting his B.A. degree in Social Science in 1966. Kemp started surfing the waves at malibu and even though he was surfing for less than three years he was regarded as one of California’s premier surf stylists. Kemp studied Flamenco guitar in Spain in 1972, as well as classical guitar. In the 1980’s, Kemp placed highly in Triathlons. He wrote articles on surfing in magazines and his monthly “Surf Scrolls” column in the Santa Barbara News Press from 1989 to 1993.
Passing of Tom Viren
On October 19, 2022, Tom Viren passed away peacefully at home with his family. Tom was 79-years old.
Growing up in El Segundo, Tom was a High School and Colligate championship swimmer. Tom Viren worked as a pool lifeguard at the El Segundo Plunge and then for one year as an ocean lifeguard for the City of Huntington Beach. In 1962, Tom took the Los Angeles County exam and finished first in the training academy. His first assignment as a seasonal lifeguard was in the Northern Section where he worked for four years. In 1966, Tom was promoted to permanent lifeguard, and he continued to work at Zuma beach. Within a few years, Tom passed the Coast Guard Boat Operator’s exam and began to work on the Baywatch Rescue Boat. In 1970 and 1971, he worked on the boats at both Avalon and the Isthmus on Catalina Island, and he became a member of the L. A. County Underwater Search and Rescue Team.
Passing of Derek Traeger
Ocean Lifeguard Derek C. Traeger, passed away on Sunday, August 14, 2022 in a tragic motorcycle accident. Ocean Lifeguard Traeger was an active lifeguard and faithfully served the Fire Department for six years. He was last assigned to the Lifeguard Division’s Marine Battalion 300, serving the beaches of Santa Monica North. Derek was a talented artist and I've included a sample of his artwork.
2022 L. A. County Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon
After a two year absence due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon returned. Pictured with Norton Wisdom and Erin O'Donnell is Jack Ettelson who was presented with the Bronze Statuette "Vigilance", posthumously honoring his wife, Ocean Lifeguard Claudia Ettelson who passed away July, 2021.
Passing of Howard Lee
Howard Lee, retired Chief Lifeguard, died on April 27, 2022. He was 87. Chief Lee’s career with the Los Angeles County Lifeguards spanned 37 years, from 1953 - 1990. During his career, he was part of significant changes to our service. Such as, the mergers with LA City and the City of Santa Monica, the creation of the lifeguard paramedic services on Catalina Island, and our 24-hour lifeguard service. Also, the evolution of our current service from the Department of Parks and Recreation to the Department of Beaches, and to the merger with the Harbor Department to become the Department of Beaches and Harbors. He was also involved in the founding of the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association (LACOLA), and the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA). His footprints in the sand are tremendous. Aside from work, Howard was the consummate family man, devoted husband, and life coach. He will be deeply missed.
Peter Cole - Malibu 1946
Passing of Peter Cole
Peter Cole, who started riding big waves on Oahu’s North Shore in 1958, died at age 91. He was known for his longevity — he surfed until he was 76 years old, never using a leash despite surfing at Sunset Beach during the winter swells.
Peter Cole - Waimea Bay
Passing of Wally Hapke
Retired Rescue Boat Captain Wally Hapke, passed away after a short-term illness on Saturday, March 19, 2022, at the age of 85. Captain Hapke retired in 1991 after 32 years of dedicated service to the Lifeguard Division. Wally also served in the United States Army for 1955 to 1957.
Passing of Ken Snyder
Ken "Kenner" Snyder died on November 24, 2021 in Santa Monica. He was an original L.A. City Lifeguard, starting in 1973. He became an L.A. County Firefighter and continued to work Ocean Lifeguard shifts until retiring in 2015.
It is with much sadness that we inform you that Denise Hearst passed away Sunday, October 17, 2021. Surrounded by her family, she peacefully lost her 14-year battle with cancer. Denise is survived by her husband, son, daughter and three granddaughters. Denise became a County Lifeguard in 1978 and worked mainly in Santa Monica for 10 years when she retired.
Passing of Pete Stange
Retired L. A. City Lifeguard Pete Stange passed away on October 5, 2021 at the age of 90 years. Pete is the older brother of Mike Stange. Mike is also a retired L. A Co. Lifeguard. Pete played water polo in the 1951 Pan American Games and in the Helsinki Olympics.
Passing of Greg Noll
One of the first and arguably one of the greatest big-wave riders, Noll was much more than a surfer. He was also an entrepreneur who helped transform the sport with his Greg Noll surfboards, which were among the first to be built from balsa wood, a substance that made them more maneuverable and light enough for most people to use.
Ocean Lifeguard Claudia Ettelson, wife of Ocean Lifeguard Jack Ettelson passed away on July 1, 2021 after a long battle with cancer. Claudia's career lasted 30-years. Working towers primarily in the Southern Section she also spent 10-years working the WATER Program. She was an age group and high school swim coach before retiring to Big Bear Lake.
Jeremiah “Jerry” Noble Hankins passed away on June 7, 2021, in his hometown of Manhattan Beach, California.
Jerry was a quiet, laidback, gentleman who loved the outdoors and surfed almost every morning.
Jerry lived in Manhattan Beach his entire life. He attended kindergarten at Grandview, elementary school at American Martyrs, and high school at Loyola. During high school, he began working as a recurrent lifeguard for LA County. After completing his bachelor’s degree at UCLA, his love of the ocean led him to build a 34-foot catamaran. And over the course of several years, he and his wife sailed down the coast to Manzanillo, Mexico and back.
In the next chapter of his life, Jerry worked as a Systems Analyst, but his true passion was building and sailing. He designed and built a 22-foot dory, which he sailed with his wife on numerous bays and lakes in California, Arizona, and Baja.
Jerry loved wide open spaces. So, next he constructed a cabin in the Anza-Borrego Desert which was surrounded by ocotillo and cholla and offered scenic views of Mt. Laguna.
Jerry had a profound sense of curiosity and believed that true stories are far more inspiring than fiction. He was a voracious reader, absorbing all the historical and nonfiction books he could find.
Jerry is survived by his wife, Patricia Ware, his son, Jeremiah Hankins, and his two sisters, Mary Ann Kinser and Elizabeth White Hankins.
Passing of Tom Estlow
Thomas “Tom” Earl Estlow died after a long-term illness on Sunday, May 30, 2021, at
home, surrounded by his family. He was 79. Tom began his lifeguard career in 1960 at Sun Valley pool where he met his wife of 57 years, Karmen. He joined the Los Angeles City Lifeguards in 1963, working in towers and headquarters, served on the dive team and ultimately became LA County Rescue Boat Captain of Baywatch Del Rey, before retiring in 1999.
Over the course of a 31-year lifeguard career that included rising to Baywatch captain both at the Isthmus and Avalon, Troeger performed thousands of rescues. Avalon is one of the most challenging posts in lifeguarding because it attracts so many amateur and professional divers and boat operators and because lifeguards there serve as paramedics to the entire community.
Steve Troeger at the Redondo Beach Breakwater Circa 1981
Timothy passed away after a gallant battle with cancer on March 15, 2021 in Palm Beach. Palm Beach became his new home where he lived with his remarkable and beautiful wife, noted appellate attorney Edna Caurso. They were a wonderful couple who cared deeply for each other and traveled the world to Australia, New Zealand, Asia, Europe, Africa, Caribbean, and South America.
Passing of John McFarlane
From the time John McFarlane became a Los Angeles County lifeguard in 1951, until a decade after his retirement 32 years later, whenever he had a vacation or a day off, he surfed
To friends who told him his vacations sounded like a busman’s holiday, he said, “That’s because you don’t surf.”
John and Buzzy Trent at Wiamaha
John at Torrance Station
Passing of Russ Walker
Retired Assistant Chief Russell Walker passed away August 29, 2019. Russ began his lifeguarding career in 1965 after being recruited out of Mt. San Antonio Junior College. His first assignment was Pudding Stone Lake in San Dimas. With the creation of the Department of Beaches Russ transferred to the beach operations where he quickly rose through the ranks.
Passing of Don Rosenthal
The Lifeguard alumni family passes along our condolences to the family of Don "Rosie" Rosenthal. Rosie passed away this afternoon. Starting his career with the Los Angeles CITY Lifeguards and retired as a Los Angeles County Lifeguard Lieutenant. After retirement he moved to Washington State with his beloved wife Anna. Anna predeceased him a few months ago. Rosie died peacefully with his son Victor and daughter-law Liza at his side. Rosie was an excellent swimmer and swam at Santa Monica College for John Joseph where he became and All-American swimmer before going on to swim at UCLA where is was also an All -American.
Personally I have known Rosie as a water polo and swimming referee when I started swimming and playing water polo in High School. After I became a lifeguard we worked many shifts together. We will miss his laughter and stories.
Passing of Don Rohrer
Don Rohrer, former USLA President (1998-2003) and Retired Chief Lifeguard of Los Angeles County, passed away on Tuesday, April 30, 2019, after a short-term illness at the age of 82. Chief Rohrer was a founding member of USLA in 1964 and retired in 1996 after 44 years of dedicated and faithful service to the residents of Los Angeles County. Chief Rohrer was instrumental in transitioning Ocean Lifeguards into the Fire Department in 1994.
Passing of Cal Porter
OLS Cal Porter was the heart and soul of the L.A. County Zuma Lifeguards. A pioneer surfer, an all-around waterman, Cal started his lifeguard service at the Venice Plunge at 33 cents an hour in 1939 at age 15. He served at Will Rogers for many of his early lifeguard years and was one of the first lifeguards to work at Zuma Beach where he became a lifeguard icon. OLS Cal Porter was probably the last living ocean lifeguard who started his service in the saltwater plunges. The Venice Plunge where Cal served was built in the beginning of the 20th century and closed its doors in the early 1940’s. Cal retired in 1976.
Passing of Mike Doyle
Doyle was born in 1941 and grew up in Lawndale. He caught his first wave at the Manhattan Beach Pier in 1954, at age 13, after watching South Bay icons such as Dale Velzy and Greg Noll ride waves there. He worked as an apprentice to those same surfers building balsa boards in 1959.
From the Daily Breeze
Passing of Don Rosskopf
Donald Robert Rosskopf
Enoch - Donald Robert Rosskopf
Born: March 16, 1932 -Glendale, CA
Died: July 27, 2018 peacefully in his home, at the age of 86, from age related illnesses including cancer and stroke - but you couldn't tell him that - a fighter till the end. Don loved life and cherished every moment he had on this earth.
Passing of Bud Hustler
Bud passed away on March 19, 2018, at the age of 91 years old. Bud was born in Los Angeles to Marjorie and Clarence G. Hustler Sr. He graduated from Washington High School, and then went on to serve in the U.S. Navy during WW ll. Following the war, Bud attended U.S.C. where he earned both a B.S degree and M.S degree in Education. While a student, he played for the U.S.C water polo team and remained a passionate, lifelong Trojan!! In 1946, at the age of 18, Bud became a Los Angeles County Lifeguard. He worked ardently as a beach lifeguard for over 49 years. He also worked for the Los
Angeles Unified School District for 42 years, teaching and serving as an administrator, in addition to officiating basketball and football games. Bud and his wife, Barbara, raised four children in Palos Verdes, Terizza (James) Miller, Larry Hustler, Kathleen (Charles) Delio, and Leigh Ann Giddings. Even with a busy schedule, Bud always found time to golf and follow his favorite sports teams. An avid adventurer, he traveled to over 109 countries, always taking the time to send postcards and bring back souvenirs from his many travels. Later on, Bud married Raquel Lemmi, eventually settling in Oceanside, where he continued to swim, golf and travel. He will be forever missed, and we will always carry his memory in our hearts. In addition to his children, grandchildren and wife, his sister, Betty Richardson, and her extended family survive Bud. A private memorial will be held in his honor, and his ashes will be scattered from the Baywatch boat into the ocean that he so loved.
2018 L. A. County Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon
The 2018 Los Angeles County Lifeguard Reunion and Luncheon was held at the Redondo Beach Elks Club in July. The Luncheon is the current event where the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association presents the bronze's to retired employees. This year Norton Wisdom unveiled "Vigilance", the new bronze to honor female retirees.
Tracy Lizotte Retires
Captain Tracy Lizotte retires after 39 years on the sand. A retirement get together for Tracy was held April 7, 2018 at The Deck in Hermosa Beach. LACOLA wishes Tracy all the best as he moves on to the next phase in his life.
A Message From Tracy to the Troops
It is with great pride and sadness that I say goodbye to you after 39 years of wearing the “red and whites” in the sand. We are all so fortunate to work in a place most people in LA or tourists from around the world only get to visit briefly. It is an awesome job and responsibility to stay vigilant day after day. Now I leave that to you to raise the bar for the next generation.
I was taught early on that if each one of us just does one thing to better our service that we will continue to maintain the reputation of being the best Lifeguard Service in the world. I challenge each one of you to leave our service better than you found it. You have a unique skill set – the ability to swim. Only one in ten of those bathers you’re watching on the beach know how to swim! So keep up your skills. It’s too easy to skip a day, which turns into a week or a month, then next thing you know, it’s Spring! We get paid to get wet, not to watch people struggle.
Our careers go by faster than you think. Promoted yesterday, 2-3-4 years on, then racing up the list, ready for 24’s and so on. Appreciate every day that you get to wear the “reds”.
Finally, stay fit – get in the ocean daily and do the right thing whether you think someone is watching or not.
It has been an honor and a privilege to work with you these past four decades. See you on the sand under an umbrella holding and breaking all your rules.
Yours in Lifesaving, Captain Tracy Lizotte
Passing of John Howe
It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of former Santa Monica and LA County lifeguard John Howe. John, passed away on February 3, 2017 at the age of 93.
John started his lifeguard career in 1942 for the City of Santa Monica. He was the Superintendent of Santa Monica Beaches and Harbors, at the time of the Los Angeles Co./Santa Monica lifeguard merger in 1974. He worked all sections of the county beaches as a Captain before his retirement in 1985.
He was also a Naval Aviator and a veteran of World War II and the Korean War, achieving the rank of Captain. He served in the Navy Reserve until he retired from the military in 1978.
John is survived by his wife, Norma Jean (Beanie), adult children Pamela, John Jr. and Susan and grandchildren Anthia and John.
Passing of Ernie Polte
Legendary Hornet Aquatics coach Ernie Polte passed away Sept. 28, 2017 at his home in San Clemente. Ernie was 90-years old and had been fighting liver cancer for several months. A Fullerton JC graduate, Polte coached and taught at Fullerton from 1962 to 1990. Ernie was one of the first watermen to swim, play water polo, scuba dive, compete in lifeguard competitions, and open water swims right up to his 90th birthday. Services for Ernie will be announced at a later date.
Mike passed away on September 22nd, 2017 at the age of 79. Mike was a Los Angeles County Lifeguard beginning in the 1950’s. Mike worked in the Southern Section and grew up in Hermosa Beach. Mike was an original member of the Surfing Seals club and traveled to Hawaii in 1955 with Sonny Vardeman, Bing Copeland, Steve Voorhees and Rick Stoner. In 1956, Mike began a five year stint as one of the premier competitive paddlers of his time winning races in Hawaii and the original Catalina to Manhattan Beach paddling event. Mike also traveled to Australia to compete in the Australian Olympic International Surf Championship, the predecessor to the Wieland Shield exchange that takes place every two years with the state of Victoria, Australia surf lifesavers.
Passing of Mike Bright
Passing of Steve Voorhees
Steve Voorhees Passed away Friday, September 15, Steve had been in declining health for the past few years. Steve was the Lifeguard Section Chief in the Southern Section for a major part of his lifeguarding career. Steve was also a former LACOLA President and served on the team that negotiated the first LACOLA labor contract with the County. Steve was a pioneer surfer who challenged the Hawaii North Shore with the likes of Bing Copeland, Rick Stoner, Sonny Vardeman and Mike Bright.
Passing of Jim Westerman
Jim Westerman passed away in his sleep, Monday, August 14, 2017, at the age of 72. Jim was both a Los Angeles County Lifeguard, and a retired Los Angeles County Fire Fighter Specialist. His last Fire assignment before retiring was as a Camp Crew Foreman at Camp 13 on Encinal Canyon Road in Malibu.
Gabe Campos Retires
2017 L. A. County Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon
A Book By: Richard Mark
Passing of Richard Mark
Richard Mark passed away April 29, at Saint John’s Hospital in Santa Monica after a long and valiant battle against cancer. He is survived by his wife, Charmaine, and his children, Matthew, Loriann, and Ryan. His funeral service was at Our Lady of Malibu Catholic Church on May 13, 2017. Richard was a recurrent lifeguard for many years, and he wrote the multi-volume chronicle of Los Angeles County Lifeguarding, “Our Lifeguard Family.
Passing of Jeff Solomon
It is with sadness that i tender the news of the passing of long time Santa Monica Lifeguard, L. A. County Lifeguard and L. A. County Fire Department Paramedic Jeff Solomon. Jeff passed away Friday, February 3, 2017 at St. John's Medical Center in Santa Monica. A Memorial Service and Flag Ceremony was held at the Santa Monica Lifeguard Headquarters on Feb. 25, 2017. The cause of death was acute cardiac failure.
Passing of Bill O'Sullivan
I regret to inform you that retired Chief Bill O'Sullivan passed away on November 7, 2016.
Passing of Paul Gudmundsson
I am saddened to write that Ocean Lifeguard Paul Gudmundsson passed away unexpectedly on Sunday, October 9, 2016, at the age of 62.
Paul faithfully served the beach-going public for 44 years as a lifeguard for the Los Angeles County beaches. In addition to the many rescues and first aids he performed through the years, he was an accomplished competitor, and appears on the Taplin Bell four times; in 1974, 1976, and 1980 as a paddler, and in 1977 as a rower.
Paul is survived by his wife of 37 years, Marilyn, as well as his son Shaun, daughter Alexandra, son-in-law Gavin Horlick, and granddaughter Genevieve. Shaun, Alexandra, and Gavin are all Ocean Lifeguards for Los Angeles County.
Growing up in Manhattan Beach, Paul enthusiastically participated in the Junior Lifeguard Program, and as a lifeguard was able to share his enthusiasm and experience as he became a Junior Lifeguard Instructor.
2016 L. A. County Lifeguard Alumni Luncheon
The 2016 Alumni Luncheon was once again be held at the Redondo Beach Elks Lodge. The Elks Lodge is a beautiful location to host Retired Lifeguards from Los Angeles County, Los Angeles City and the City of Santa Monica. It was a wonderful time catching up with old friends and co-workers.
Passing of Bill Powers
Bill Powers, 69, of Paradise, CA, a retired Ocean Lifeguard Specialist for the Los Angeles County Fire Department died this August. Bill was remembered Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, at the Will Rogers Lifeguard Headquarters inPacific Palisades. A reception followed at the WRHQ, hosted by Bill's family.
Don and Julie Knabe Dinner
in 2016 the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Association hosted a dinner to honor Don and Julie Knabe. The dinner was held at the King Harbor Yacht Club in Redondo Beach. Long a friend of the L. A. County Lifeguards, Don, was honored for his years of service to Los Angeles County and especially his continuous support of safe, clean beaches.
Passing of L. A. City Lifeguard Jack Daniels
It is with Great Sadness that we announce the passing of Los Angeles City Lifeguard Jack Daniels. Jack died of complications from throat cancer on May 14, 2016
Passing of Craig Mattox
I am saddened to inform you that retired Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Craig Mattox passed away unexpectedly May 11, 2016 as the result of a diving accident.
Craig, who was 59 years old, retired from the Department in 2008, and leaves behind a wife and two daughters.
A memorial and tribute to Craig's life was held June 12, 2016 at Paradise Cove, Malibu. A paddle out was followed by a memorial service at Paradise Cove Recreation Hall.
Passing of Ron Crawford
Ron Crawford, a Manhattan Beach resident of 53 years, passed away peacefully on December 20, 2015 surrounded by his family. He was an incredible husband, father, grandfather, coach, educator, neighbor and friend to many. Ron was born December 6, 1939 in Brea, California. He was raised in Downey by his parents George and Alice Crawford.
Passing of George Eddie Nelson
Ed Nelson passed away last week after doing what he loved most, swimming the annual Dwight Crum 2-mile Pier-to-Pier Swim. He was surrounded by his family. Ed is survived by his two children, Erik Nelson and Jennifer Shenbaum; 6 grandchildren and his two sisters, Joyce Ralph and Linda Blethen. A Redondo Beach native, Ed was an LA County Lifeguard for 55 years and a teacher at Adams Middle School for 37 years.
Angus Alexander Retirement Dinner
In 2014 Angus Alexander's retirement dinner was held at the L. A. County Youth Center at Dockweiler Beach. Angus became an expert in Tsunami's and was key in setting up the Los Angeles County Tsunami Early Warning System. He spent the majority of his career in the Central Section.
Passing of Brian Kutil
Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Brian Kutil passed away the morning of Thursday, January 15, 2014. Brian was participating in his recheck swim when he suffered a cardiac event. The Lifeguard recheck team and Lifeguard Paramedics were immediately there to assist but efforts pool side and at the hospital were unsuccessful.
Zuma Beach Lifeguard Reunion
Glenn Dexter hosted a Zuma Beach Lifeguard Reunion at his home in 2014. All lifeguards that had worked at lease one season at Zuma were invited. Glenn and his wife Pam's home in on the beach in Malibu and it provided a perfect location for the event. Click the link below to see all the Photo's
Unveiling of the Meistrell Statue 2014
Lifeguards Bill and Bob Meistrell were Remembered at the unveiling of the Meistrell Brothers Statue which is located at the entrance of the Redondo Beach Salt Water Lagoon. The Meistrell brothers started Body Glove International and are icons not only in the South Bay, but world wide.
Passing of Bob Williams
Lifeguard Chief Bob Williams passed away in 2014. Bob and his brother, Bud, grew up in San Pedro and spent their younger days at Cabrillo Beach. The Williams family close to Myron Cox's family and it was taken for granted that they would become lifeguards. Bob retired from the lifeguard service in 1987.
Passing of Tom Barnett
Ocean Lifeguard Specialist Tom Barnett passed away after a battle with cancer in 2014. Tom began his lifeguarding service at Zuma Beach and his enthusiasm and appreciation of the lifeguard service was legendary. Tom was also a gifted guitarist and donated his musical talents at many lifeguard events and benefits.
John Olguin is the recipient of the 2008 Los Angeles County Lifeguard Lifetime Achievement award. John Olguin was born in San Pedro in 1921 and has always been recognized as a natural leader. During World War II, he served in New Guinea, the Philippines, and Japan with the First Calvary Division and was awarded the Silver Star. He returned after the war to San Pedro and the beach.
Passing of Nate Shargo
Nate Shargo was born August 2, 1910 and Passed away peacefully in his sleep at 1:00 a. m. on November 20, 2007. Nate is survived by his wife, Edna Shargo and his devoted sister-in-law, Jean Shargo. Nate had remarkable energy. After retiring in 1968 at the age of 58, he painted houses until age 85.
Passing of Dale Velzy
Dale Velzy, one of California’s most influential shapers and most lively surfing figures, died of cancer Thursday morning, May 26, 2005. He was 78. Known for his warm-heartedness and ribald sense of humor, Velzy became the largest surfboard retailer in California throughout the 1950s. A prolific shaper, his Pig and Bump designs were major advancements in performance surfboard evolution.
Dale Velzy’s grandfather was a master cabinet builder, and his father-built dory boats in Southern California—using his grandfather’s tools, and with his Dad’s guidance, Dale began crafting his own boards in 1937. His partnership with Hap Jacobs in the 1950s made surfboards available to a many more surfers than any previous shaper, and he is often credited with being the main force behind the growth of the popularity of surfing in California.
He shaped under the Manhattan Beach pier in his early years, before opening the worlds first Surf Shop, on Manhattan Beach Blvd. Velzy put his own twist on everything he did. He worked as a ranch hand, loved horses and hotrods, and was known as the best surfboard salesman ever, based mainly on his love of interacting with people.
His personal connections reach across the surfing world, and he mentored many great shapers and surfers along the way, including Donald Takayama and Miki Dora. A master craftsman with an intimate understanding of hull dynamics, Velzy also shaped much sought-after paddleboards. He is one of the sport’s great figures, whose contributions in both board design and surfing spirit will never be forgotten.
Passing of Ed Perry
Rescue Boat Captain Ed Perry’s Lifeguard service spanned nearly 50 years. At age 14, in the mid 1920’s, he became one of the first Venice Jr. Guards. In his eighties he was still taking his daily ocean swims and rowing his Peterson Dory. He is the only one of our Rescue Boat Captains to have a license to command super tankers
Passing of Dick Fitzgerald 2003
Dick was born on April 22, 1924 in Santa Monica. He was the first Director of the County Department of Beaches and lobbied tenaciously for coastal access. He was prominent in the Redondo Beach community and active in dozens of community organizations including; Redondo Beach and Torrance Chambers of Commerce, the governing board of the former South Bay Hospital; founder of the International Surf Festival and Redondo Beach Round Table; founder of the Redondo Beach Sister City Program with Ensenada and LaPaz, one of the founders of the South Bay Athletic Club, and past president of the California Junior Chamber of Commerce. Dick was a magnanimous force within the community and touched the lives of many. He was extremely giving and enriched the lives of his family and friends.
Dick Fitzgerald on Zuma Beach in the 1960's
Dwight Crum passed away February 27, 2000. He grew up in Compton, California where he used to take the streetcars to Long Beach. This was before the Federal breakwater was constructed and where he enjoyed surf similar to Huntington Beach. “I learned how to swim in the surf by watching other people,” Dwight said. He went to the University of Southern California and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. He served in the Navy during World War II as a Lieutenant. He married his wife Ginny in 1946. When the war ended in 1947, he became a permanent L. A. Co. Lifeguard.
Dwight Crum with future Lifeguard Section Chief Gary Crum, age 2, on the beach in Redondo
Passing of Bud Stevenson
Bud Stevenson rose to the position of Chief Lifeguard in the very earliest days of the county Lifeguards. He served in the merchant marines during World War II and became Lifeguard Captain in 1948 and Lifeguard Chief in 1957. From his early years as a Lifeguard, he was constantly troubled by the placement of the Lifeguard Division under the County Parks and Recreation Dept. He envisioned that all beach lifeguards should be administered by similar safety service agencies, not recreational administrators. His vision of a separate Department of Beaches, retirement and salary parity with the LA County Sheriffs and Fire Departments became an obsession with him.
Bud Stevenson on the deck of the tanker F .T. Hillman in WWII - The bell to his right was later salvaged and now rests on the Judge Taplin Trophy
Chief Bud Stevenson late in his Career
Passing of Bill Stidham
William began his lifeguard career in 1934 as a seasonal lifeguard for the City of Hermosa Beach. In 1935 he began working for Los Angeles County when they took over operation of the beach. He became a full time lifeguard in 1940. He left this position from 1942-1945 to join the service during World War II. After the war he returned to his lifeguard career and was promoted to the rank of Lieutenant in 1946. William was appointed the first Baywatch Skipper in 1952. Bill became the first lifeguard to be honored with the Los Angeles County Lifeguard Lifetime Achievement Award in 1992
Chief Lifeguard Myron Cox served 44 years from 1927 to 1972. He was appointed Chief Lifeguard for Los Angeles City in 1931. He served as Chief Lifeguard until his mandatory retirement at age 70 in 1972. In a conversation that I had with him in 1968, I asked about his years as Chief Lifeguard. He said, “If I had to do it all over again, I would not change a thing.” It was a true gift to know such a man as our Chief Lifeguard Myron Cox.
Myron Cox at the Venice Beach Lifeguard Headquarters
Myron Cox consoling the mother of two drowning victims - The photo was the L.A. Times photo of the year