Joseph Richard (Dick) Jahraus

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Dick Jahrus
Dick Jahrus

Joseph Richard (Dick) Jahraus II died Monday, Nov. 30, 2015, at the age of 90.   A Laguna Beach era is rapidly coming to a close.  An era when Richard’s stepmom would tell him to go to Fisherman’s Cove (Boat Canyon) to get a couple of abalones off the rocks because they were having guests for dinner. An era in which Richard went quail hunting and “accidently” shot one of Mr. Pine’s (Pine Castle) goats, where Von’s Pavilions market is located. An era when Richard and his friends could play tag football on Coast Highway.

Richard’s grandparents, Elmer and Henrieta Jahraus, father Joe and Aunt Pauline arrived in Laguna in 1902. Elmer made cigars and became the largest realtor. From the very beginning the Jahraus family was involved in the community. Elmer was president of the Chamber of Commerce, on the boards of the Laguna Beach Art Association and school board. Elmer also wrote and acted in some of the earlier plays that were performed in Laguna Beach. As a realtor, Elmer helped save the land for Heisler Park from development.

Richard’s father Joe, in 1914 started the Laguna Beach Lumber Company. Joe was actively involved in the community. He was on the first water board and first City Council. Joe also served on the school board and Chamber of Commerce. Joe met his future wife, Susan Vennum, when delivering a Western Union telegram to her. The Lumber Company was one of the few places that had a phone and all telegrams went by phone to the Lumberyard. Joe and Susan married in 1923 and Richard was born March 30, 1925.

Richard only attended Laguna Beach High School through his sophomore year. Because he was such a fun loving boy and not paying attention to his studies, Richard was sent at the age of 15 to New Mexico Military Institute, in Roswell, N.M., for his junior and senior years of high school and first year of college. Richard left the New Mexico Military Institute to enter the Army Air Corp in World War II. After the war Richard decided to continue his education at Santa Barbara College. He majored in business administration and minored in political science. Richard met the love of his life, Beverly Claire, at college and they were married Sept. 7, 1947. Richard and Beverly’s first son Joe (Joey) was born on July 7, 1948. College days behind them, Richard, Beverly and son Joey journeyed back to Laguna. Richard worked fulltime at Laguna Beach Lumber and took over managing the company when his father died in 1969. Richard retired from Laguna Beach Lumber Company on April 18, 1984.

Richard like his father, Joe, and grandfather, Elmer, served on civic boards and served in community organizations and clubs. He served on the Laguna Beach Water Board for 38 years and was president for 25 of those years. He also served on the city Planning Commission, Toastmasters Club, Lions Club, Rotary Club, as a Little League coach and board member, Boys Club board, Chamber of Commerce and Festival of Arts board. Richard was honored as citizen of the year of the 1978 Patriots’ Day Parade.

Richard loved the ocean, camping, fishing, playing golf, and bridge and liked to cut minerals. Richard body surfed, dory surfed, free dived, sailed and fished the ocean. Richard went on many camping trips with family and friends throughout the Western States, including places like the eastern Sierra Nevada Mountains, Owens Valley and Lake Mojave. Richard and his wife Beverly went on many road trips and played golf everywhere. They traveled extensively to many places such as Kenya, Egypt, London, Hawaii, Canada, Mexico, the South Pacific, New Zealand and Peru. I bet if you asked him, he would say some of his most wild adventures were in his RV with his male friends and their many trips to Beatty, Nev.

Richard’s wife of 63 years, Beverly, died in 2010. He is survived by his children, sons Joe and Jeff and daughter Jenny; daughters-in-law Susan and Linda; three grandchildren Molly Giliotti, Sally, and William; and two great grandchildren Max and Jack Giliotti.   Richard had a wonderful visit with Max and Jack last summer.

A private celebration of life will be held sometime after the first of the year.



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