By Donna Furey | LB Indy
June Neptune, known for her generosity to nonprofit organizations in Laguna Beach and her kindness to animals, has died at 95. Her death was announced at the Nov. 4 dinner meeting of Laguna Canyon Conservancy, one of the many organizations whose meetings she hosted at her restaurants, Tivoli Terrace and Tivoli Too!
A celebration of her life will be held at 5 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 1, at The Hacienda Restaurant (1725 College Avenue, Santa Ana), a 1930 adobe structure acquired and renovated by Neptune and her husband in 1977.
She was born June Williams in 1924 in San Pedro. “Her mother was named May and she was born on May 5, so she was christened June,” Mike Neptune, her stepson, said. Mike Neptune’s dad, Terry, was June’s third husband. Both were members of the Screen Actors Guild; June was a movie extra in the 1940s and later became a June Taylor Dancer.
Local business owner Cheryl Kinsman said, “She was an amazing person, an absolute treasure,” noting the many charities June supported but “never told anyone” about. Sometimes charging just a dollar a head or paying out of their own pockets, Kinsman said the Neptunes held memorial services for civil servants, wedding ceremonies, and community meetings and fundraisers for nonprofits like the Laguna Greenbelt, the Canyon Conservancy and the Laguna Art Museum, plus numerous charities supporting pets including putting on Thanksgiving and Easter feasts for the RUFF (animal rescue) organization.
Susan Hamil, chairman of the board at the Blue Bell Foundation for Cats, expressed sorrow at Neptune’s passing. “In addition to being great animal lovers, June and Terry were great friends to our community. June’s spirit of generosity extended to Laguna-based organizations and her passion for animals will be missed in our town,” she said.
Sande St. John, organizer of community events, also used “amazing” in her description of Neptune. “June had real respect for the police, fire and marine safety personnel in this town,” she said recalling Neptune’s help in putting on the Biennial Police Awards Banquet and the annual Halloween Bash supporting the CSP Youth Shelter in memory of fallen police officer Jon Coutchie. St. John also said Neptune donated time, food and her venues for fundraising events for the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, Laguna Beach Animal Shelter and the Patriots Day Parade. “She was the kindest, most generous and gracious person you’d ever met,” St. John said. In 1998, June and Terry Neptune were honored as Citizens of the Year in the annual Patriots Day Parade.
“June Neptune was an early corporate sponsor before anyone ever knew what a corporate sponsor was. She was a friend of many of the environmentalists in the community and she [used] her position to help the environmental groups. June and Carolyn Wood [of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy] were friends…It’s a curious note in history when two dynamos pass away within 48 hours of one another. Their combined imprint on Laguna Beach will be missed,” said Harry Huggins, Conservancy president.
June met Terry Neptune in 1958 in Corona Del Mar. After moving on from their Hollywood careers, Terry Neptune managed Christian’s Hut,which began its life as a bar for the crew working on “Mutiny on the Bounty” which was being filmed on Catalina Island. Neptune was waitressing elsewhere. They bought a house in Laguna Beach in 1960, uniting his two sons and her two daughters into one family. In the early 1970s, they acquired the lease on Tivoli Terrace.
“My dad was the front-man at the restaurants,” Mike Neptune said of his father, who passed away in 2000. “He was known for his bigger-than-life personality, but it was good deeds that defined June’s life.”
Terry Neptune served on the city’s telecommunication committee for two decades, and hosted the local show “Hello Laguna,” which was televised on the local cable channel into the 1990s. “June was Mrs. Laguna,” Kinsman said.
Mike Neptune, who was born and raised in Laguna Beach and graduated from Laguna Beach High School, as did his kids, said “almost all kids back then worked at least one summer at Tivoli Terrace.”
“My brother Andy and I worked as teenagers at Tivoli Terrace and June became a lifelong inspiration,” said local filmmaker and television director Rob Hedden. “There was no one more generous and full of life than June, as well as Terry—they influenced my life in a major way, and I will always be grateful.”
In addition to her stepson Mike, Mike’s brother Peter and his stepsisters Lana Bobele and Rose Robson and her grandchildren survive Neptune. Robson will take over operation of The Hacienda. “It’s a blessing; I’m happy to do it,” she said.
After 50 years running the Tivoli restaurants, Neptune sold her lease in 2018. Now named Terra Laguna Beach, the restaurant’s second level is called the Neptune Lounge.