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Daily Pilot

2012's notable passings

By Lauren Williams and Kelly Parker

1:51 PM PST, December 28, 2012

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The last year took many notable people from Newport Beach and Costa Mesa. Whether they were lost to age, illness or tragedy, they are remembered here.

The Aegean sailors: Crew members William Reed Johnson, 57, Theo Mavromatis, 49, Kevin Eric Rudolph, 53, and Joseph Lester Stewart, 64, died in a boat wreck during the Newport to Ensenada Yacht Race on April 28.

Mark David Allen: Died at age 50 on Feb. 1. Allen was arrested in Newport Beach about 520 times and was the subject of a documentary, "Drunk in Public," made by a Newport Beach custody officer.

Orville 'Orv' Amburgey: Died at 78 on Nov. 11. A former police officer and Costa Mesa city councilman, Amburgey was known for his feisty political image.

Mary 'Katherine' Baird Darmer: Died at 47 on Feb. 17. Darmer, a resident of Newport Beach and a Chapman University law professor, was active in the Orange County gay rights movement.

Ken Bauermeister: Died at 84 on Aug. 4. Bauermeister coached basketball and baseball at Newport Harbor High School for 27 years.

Buddy Belshe: Died at age 78 on Dec. 19. Belshe was a veteran lifeguard in Newport Beach serving as a full-time and seasonal lifeguard for 47 years.

William E. Blurock: Died at 90 on June 12. A celebrated architect, Blurock crafted the designs of Segerstrom Hall, Corona del Mar and Estancia high schools and Orange Coast College's library.

Maddy Boutelle: Died at 13 on June 8. A popular eighth-grader at Ensign Intermediate School, Boutelle suffered a brain aneurysm at a friend's birthday party.

Dr. Catherine Campion Ritz: Died at 57 on Sept. 15. A prominent Newport Beach physician, Campion Ritz died after a hit-and-run crash with a truck.

Lee Childress: Died at 95 on Sept. 21. Childress co-founded the MACY Awards, which recognize high school musical theater accomplishments.

Donna Crean: Died at 82 on July 21. An Orange County philanthropist, Crean donated to Chapman University, Hoag Hospital, among other area institutions.

Jules Gage: Died at 90 on Feb. 4. Gage worked as Costa Mesa High School's first athletic director.

Brian Gray: Died at 38 on Dec. 22. A 21-year seasonal lifeguard in Newport Beach, Gray died after falling from his bicycle, but the cause of death has not yet been publicly disclosed.

Don Haidl: Died at 61 on Dec. 18. Haidl worked as assistant sheriff to former Sheriff Mike Carona and became the star witness for prosecutors when Carona was tried on corruption charges.

H. Warren Knight: Died at 83 on Nov. 15. Many consider Knight a pioneer in alternative dispute resolution. He served as a judge in Orange County superior and municipal courts.

Marie Kolasinski: Died at 90 on April 23. Kolasinski founded the Piecemakers, a Christian commune in Mesa Verde that runs the crafts store by the same name. She was also a fierce government critic.

Sarah Leaf: Died at 29 on Sept. 14. Leaf worked as a nutrition consultant. She was run over while riding her bike in Newport.

Greg Lee: Died at 57 on Sept. 11. Corona del Mar resident Lee worked as a custom home builder and owned Greg Lee Builders Inc. He died in a house fire.

Paul Letterman Hill: Died at 76 on Nov. 17. Hill served as the president of the board at the First Church of Christ, Scientist, and was a member of the Costa Mesa Community Emergency Response Team.

John F. Marder: Died at 82 on Jan. 7. Marder was the founding headmaster of Orange County's first independent school, Harbor Day School.

Don McCartin: Died at 87 on Sept. 15. McCartin lived and practiced law in Costa Mesa before serving as an Orange County Superior Court judge.

Dolores Otting: Died at 59 on Feb. 1. A four-time Newport Beach city council candidate, Otting advocated cautious city spending.

Dudley Pfaff Jr.: Died at 86 on Nov. 21. A 41-year veteran physician at Hoag Hospital, Pfaff was active in sports medicine for young adults.

Ray Rosso: Died at 96 on Dec. 1. The first Orange Coast College football coach, Rosso taught physical education at the school until his retirement in 1984.

Betty Schock: Died at 91 on July 23. Schock co-founded Schock boat-building company with her husband.

Myles Thames: Died at 9 on June 14. Thames, known as "Smiles," died at a Boys & Girls Club after suffering from cardiac arrest.

Carlos Vazquez: Died at 19 on June 5. Vazquez played football for Costa Mesa High School and was diagnosed with leukemia in 2010.