Arno Chauvel, a fourth-generation Californian, grew up hiking and fly fishing in the Sierra Nevada and developed a life-long love of all things wild. His enthusiasm for outdoor sports made him legendary among friends he cajoled into 100 mile bike rides, marathon backpack trips, mogul skiing, and rock climbing.
He graduated from the University of the Pacific, earning a doctorate in pharmacology and serving on the board of Phi Delta Chi. There, he also met the love of his life, Suzi Lusk, whom he married in 1972.
After college the two moved to Southern California to pursue their careers. Arno had proposed to Suzi on Victoria Beach in Laguna, and they often drove the hills of Laguna dreaming of living in this special place. Twenty four years ago they found their dream home and have lived on a hill overlooking Victoria Beach ever since.
Arno and Suzi loved to travel and spent time adventuring throughout the world. The two made friends with many people from different places and loved entertaining them graciously. They renewed their wedding vows several times throughout their nearly 40 years together and look forward to being together again one day.
Arno practiced medicine for 15 years, but developed a second career in commercial real estate and development. With his partner, he founded Summit Communities, a development and investment firm that continues to flourish. His professional group MHET awarded Chauvel its highest honor, inducting him into the Hall of Fame and selecting him for the Freedom Fighter Award. Most recently he was recognized with the prestigious CMPA Lifetime Achievement Award.
A third career was well underway recently as Chauvel developed skills as a promising winemaker. He loved great wine, wonderful food and friends and lived fully with enjoyment of all. His third vintage was bottled in his honor this spring. Arno was a river to his people.
Chauvel was vice chairman of the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. In his honor, a rescued young seal nursed back to health and released late April, was named Arno Two. Other Laguna and California-based groups benefited from his dedication and kindness including efforts to save Hetch-Hetchy, Mono Lake, and the repopulation of wild rivers.
He adored his family. In addition to his beloved wife Suzi, he was loved by his sister Connie Gomez and her son Aaron, nephew Kainoa Lusk and niece Lehua Lembeck, sister-in-law Candice Lusk and a huge extended family of cousins and cherished friends.
Chauvel earned his way through school on a cross-country scholarship and never stopped running toward his goals in life. He accomplished much through his work with charitable organizations as well as contributions to his professions. His gusto for outdoor activity and dedication to family and friends will leave a void as well as a challenge to pick up the gauntlet and run hard to enjoy life.
Services will be held at Laguna Presbyterian Church Friday, May 13, at 1:30 p.m. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center or the Chauvel Study Abroad Scholarship at Laguna College of Art and Design.