Long time Orange Coast resident and former Laguna Beach city councilman,
Joseph Anthony O’Sullivan died after a long illness at Mission Hospital, 12:15 A.M., March 30, 2005. He was 77.
Born in Laguna Beach, October 4, 1927, in a house given to the family by his uncle, Msgr. St. John O’Sullivan, of the San Juan Capistrano Mission, O’Sullivan worked as a lifeguard on local beaches as a teen during wartime and also sailed with the Merchant Marines before serving in the U.S. Army of Occupation in Japan. He returned to civilian life with a deep respect for Japanese culture and studied judo and the Japanese language at USC. He worked as a commercial fisherman and owned a fish market before entering a career in education, first as a teacher in Los Angeles then as director of Child, Welfare and Attendance for the Santa Ana Unified School District.
O’Sullivan was the top vote getter in the 1966 city council election, polling 2, 202 votes out of a total 3, 125 cast. During his one term in office he overcame substantial resistance by commercial and real estate interests to open select beaches to surfing throughout the summer months, all of which were previously closed to the sport. In order to help rehabilitate the image of surfing in those days he penned a weekly column called ?The Surf Aces? for the Laguna News Post. O’Sullivan also fought, successfully, to resist private development of Main Beach and to preserve the area of the historic old boardwalk for public use. After leaving office, O’Sullivan was one of the core members of the Save Salt Creek Committee, ensuring public access to one of the area’s prime beaches. He remained active in local politics as a member of the Laguna Beach Civic League, and served as president of Friends of the Library. It was during his tenure as president that the present library with an unobstructed ocean view of Main Beach was constructed.
After retiring from education, O’Sullivan worked in real estate alongside his wife Sandy O’Sullivan for Turner Associates and Coldwell Banker. The O’Sullivans moved to Dana Point in 1988, within walking distance of Salt Creek.
O’Sullivan is survived by his wife Sandra of Dana Point; son Kevin, of Los Angeles; daughter Maureen; her three children, Michaela, Colton, and Liam, of Dana Point; and a sister, Patricia O’Hanlon of Del Mar.
Funeral services will be held at St. Edwards Catholic Church, Dana Point at 11:00 AM on Friday, April 8, 2005.