Long time Laguna Beach resident Heinz Juenthner passed peacefully this past July 30th at his home in north Laguna.
The second of three kids, Heinz was born in 1935 in Ludwigsburg, Germany, a small town on the outskirts of Stuttgart. His childhood was about as far from Laguna as one could imagine. At the age of nine, after enduring many sleepless nights in the cellar, with bombs raining down nearby, several in the family trekked to a relative’s home in the countryside. They managed to stay out of harm’s way, even when the battlefront came through town. American Sherman tanks were driving just feet from their hiding spot in the barn. After the war, he finished high school and in 1954 set out for the U.S., originally living with relatives in Buffalo, NY.
After a few months, he was drafted and served in the US Army. After discharge, he got a job in Buffalo and was able to convince his high school sweetheart Irene to join him in the U.S. to start a family together. He promised her the world and they were married in 1957 building a beautiful life together. One winter in Buffalo was enough and Heinz and Irene made their way west, eventually settling in Garden Grove, CA, where they started a family.
Taking a job as a tool and die maker at Cannon, an electric connector company in Orange County, was one of the best decisions of his life. At an early age, Cannon recognized his potential and they asked Heinz to return to Germany to establish a manufacturing location in support of European market needs. Naturally he picked Ludwigsburg where he had his roots. After successfully starting up the factory, he was promoted and moved the young family again to the Waterloo area of Brussels, Belgium. Heinz became quite an established executive working at the headquarters for the Cannon parent ITT.
After 6 years living in Europe, the family became homesick for the U.S. and returned to California, moving to Laguna in 1972. They lived on Morningside Drive while building an amazing iconic home overlooking the pacific in North Laguna, moving in 1976. Heinz continued to run ITT Cannon global sales and operations from Laguna, meaning many trips abroad, sacrificing time with family. He retired from ITT in 1991 to enjoy time with Irene, traveling and golfing all over the world, always returning back to his favorite place Laguna Beach. He enjoyed skiing, hiking in the hills, bodysurfing at Crescent Bay and frequently ran on the sand at Crystal Cove.
Heinz loved his family, had many great friends and in general had a love of people and life. He could make anyone feel at ease, often using self-deprecating humor. Combining strong wit and charm, with good intentions, he would soften any situation. He made everyone feel welcome. He believed in dreaming big and knew he could tackle any obstacle that came his way. Heinz had a special gift for telling stories and would brighten any social gathering. From Ludwigsburg to Laguna he lived the dream his way.
Heinz is predeceased by his wife Irene; and survived by his son Kirk (Dianne), daughter Kristine Reigel (Rick); and grandkids Derek and Andrea Reigel; and his sister Elizabeth.