Feb 28, 1972 – July 29, 2018
The world dimmed, and the stars became much brighter, as John Christian Watson passed away in Laguna Beach, California, on July 29.
Born outside of Rochester, New York, John called many places home throughout his 46 years—raised in Southern California, moved to Austin, Texas, after graduating from Irvine High School, and then all the way to Costa Rica where he embraced the “pura vida,” a way of life that he naturally embodied. His next adventure was Vail, Colorado, where he became a true mountain man and turned his love of surfing and the ocean into snowboarding and conquering the peaks. John eventually settled in Laguna Beach and quickly became everyone’s favorite bartender, capturing the hearts of all who met him with his infectious smile and ocean blue eyes.
His little beach cottage on Cress Street was a familiar place to all in Laguna Beach, locals and visitors alike. John’s home was a place of joy where strangers became friends, and gathered to laugh, dance, sing, and indulge in spontaneous drum circles where he proved that you do not need to be a professionally trained percussionist to shred on the bongos. A gathering at “Club Watson” wasn’t complete without having cocktails and a wonderful culinary creation he would whip up on the spur of the moment, while sharing legendary tales of his many adventures around the world. His passions included surfing, swimming in the ocean, snowboarding, soccer, Angels baseball, exploring backroads in one of his many VW camper buses and following the Grateful Dead across the country.
Witty, spirited, kind, playful, unapologetically direct and devastatingly handsome (fact, not opinion), John was impossible not to love. Fiercely loyal, he relished every opportunity to help a friend, setting a new gold standard for “ride or die.” His soul radiated love and compassion. He was happiest when those he cared for were blissfully living in the moment—something we all learned from watching him. He lived like he surfed, riding every wave with abandoned passion.
John is survived by his father, brothers, sister-in-law, nephew, niece and extended family, as well as countless loved ones whose lives are richer for having known him. As he often said, there was nothing a bad day of surfing wouldn’t cure. The ocean was his remedy for everything.
In celebration of his life, a paddle out is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 29, at Brooks Street Beach in Laguna Beach (please see further information updated on his Facebook page).