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Costa Mesa Notables

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One of the goals for the Costa Mesa Preservation Committee was to identify notable Costa Mesa people who have made a positive contribution to our city.

One or more of the following criteria must be met to be considered a Costa Mesan Notable:

  • Early Costa Mesan
  • Current or former resident
  • Teaching
  • Entertainment
  • Publishing / Author
  • Business Owner
  • Sports Personality

The committee has identified several Costa Mesa Notables and every few months the names of each person will rotate and will be found in the archives on the Costa Mesa Historical Preservation Committee website.


Rollo McClellan, Jr. - (December 21, 1919 - May 4, 2013) Costa Mesa business owner (construction). Rollo was born in Anaheim and moved to Costa Mesa in 1926. He graduated from Newport Harbor High School in 1938 where he excelled in track & field and football. He attended Fullerton Junior College and served in the US Navy during WWII in the Pacific Theater. After the war he joined the family business (RW McClellan & Sons), which provided sand & gravel, dredging, and site preparation services for construction projects. Rollo was an active member of Newport-Mesa Lyons Club for 65 years and helped establish the Costa Mesa Fish Fry. He was also elected to Newport Mesa School Board in 1956 and served two terms.

Rollo McClellan Jr.

Sarah Conant - The first Costa Mesa Library began in 1923, largely through the efforts of the Friday Afternoon Club. In 1923, this group of Costa Mesa women decided that this fast-growing community, which grew from 220 in 1920 to a population of 2,400 in 1924, needed its own library. Anna Lane, a club member contacted an old school friend, Sarah Conant, about the librarian position. Conant had just retired after 27 years as a teacher in Illinois and quickly accepted. She arrived in April 1924 to become Costa Mesa’s first librarian.


Sarah Conant


Dan Quisenberry - Born in Santa Monica, California, (February 7, 1953 – September 30, 1998) was a relief pitcher who played primarily for the Kansas City Royals. Quisenberry played at Costa Mesa High, graduating in 1971. He then went to Orange Coast College. Quisenberry was the only pitcher to appear in every game of the 1980 World Series. After his baseball career ended, Quisenberry embarked on a second career as a poet, publishing three poems and a book of poetry titled “On Days Like This”. In January 1998, Quisenberry was diagnosed with grade IV astrocytoma and died in Leawood, Kansas.

Dan Quisenberry

Sharon Day Monroe - Born June 9, 1985 Costa Mesa CA. Sharon went to Costa Mesa High School from 2000-2003, competing in high jump and the heptathlon. Sharon qualified to compete in the CIF State Meet two years in a row in high jump. Sharon attended Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, won the 2005 NCAA Women's Outdoor Track and Field Championship, and set the school record in the high jump. She made the OLYMPIC TEAM in 2008 and 2012 and participated in the 2009, 2011 and 2013 world championships. Sharon specializes in the pentathlon and had won the USATF title three consecutive times, setting the record in 2014. She is currently an assistant coach at UCLA working with heptathlon athletes. She married Dan Moore on September 1, 2013.

Sharon Day Monroe

Robert "Bob" Wilson - Born in Seattle, WA, Robert attended Glendale College and married Maryalice in 1939. They moved to Costa Mesa in 1948 to start their family. He opened his business; The Awning Man, which manufactured aluminum products in 1949. In 1952 Robert was elected head of the "Home Rule Group", which spearheaded the effort to incorporate Costa Mesa in 1953. He was a member of Costa Mesa's first Planning Commission, served sixteen years on Costa Mesa City Council, three times as mayor and was selected "Costa Mesa Man of the Year" in 1975. Robert wrote "From Goat Hill to the City of the Arts: The History of Costa Mesa". Robert remained in Costa Mesa until his death in January 2004. 

Robert M. Wilson

Walter Ozment (1869-1858) – Walter Ozment built the first commercial building in town, a two-story building with a general store downstairs and living quarters upstairs. The store was located on the northeast corner of Newport Boulevard and East 18th Street. Mr. Ozment was a grocer in North Carolina before moving to Harper. Mr. Ozment was fully appointed postmaster on March 25, 1909. His wife, Velma Ozment, was named assistant postmaster.

 Walter Ozment

Hank Panian (1928-Present) – Hank Panian is a long-time Costa Mesa resident and a former history professor at Orange Coast College (OCC) from 1956-1990. Mr. Panian, who retired from OCC in 1990 after teaching for 34 years, and his wife Barbara, moved to Costa Mesa in 1956. They have lived in the same house in the College Park neighborhood since then. He was a director of Mesa Consolidated Water District from 1977-1998, a water conservation and environmental champion and a community educator. Mr. Panian was named College Professor of the Year by the Salgo-Noren Foundation in 1972. He was also named Man of the Year by the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce in 1981. Mr. Panian received the Excellence in Community Service Award from the National Society of Daughters of the American Revolution in 1997 and the Living Memorial Award form the Costa Mesa Historical Society.

Hank Panian

 Herb Jenks (1915-1977) Herb Jenks was an engineer who gained considerable experience fabricating fiberglass airplane parts during World War II. Following the war, Jenks became a pioneer of hollow fiberglass fishing rods, eventually becoming a principal in the Pacific Laminates company which opened a state-of-the-art fiberglass production facility in Costa Mesa and launched the Sila-Flex line of fishing rods in 1949. The company made a number of advanced fiberglass and composite products including vaulting poles, and Jenks is considered pioneer of the fiberglass vaulting pole. Pacific Laminates was sold to Browning Arms in 1962, and soon after Jenks help develop the Sky-Pole brand (Sky-Pole still operates a manufacturing facility in Costa Mesa). In 1968 Jenks left Browning and relocated to Carson City, Nevada, where he continued to develop the “Catapole” and (with AMF Voit) the “PACER III” vaulting poles. Jenks was still working on vaulting poles when he passed away in 1977.

 Herb Jenks

 Misty May -Treanor (1977- ) - is a retired American professional beach volleyball player. She is a three-time Olympic gold medalist, and as of August 2012 the most successful female beach volleyball player with 112 individual championship wins in domestic and international competition. During high school, Ms. May-Treanor lived in Costa Mesa and attended Newport Harbor High School. There she helped her team win two state championships in indoor volleyball. She played volleyball for Long Beach State from 1995-1999 and in 1998 the team was the first women’s NCAA volleyball team to have an undefeated season.

 Misty May Treanor

Gabe Allen – was a pioneer of Costa Mesa. Mr. Allen fought in the Mexican war and acquired the Diego Sepulveda Adobe (AKA Estancia).  He purchased the 2,760 acre parcel in 1870 for $10,500.  During his 16 year tenure as owner, he enclosed the Diego Sepulveda Adobe within a wood frame and unintentionally preserved it, thus leading to its survival to this day. The subdivisions of this parcel led to the early communities of Fairview and Paularino.


Charles TeWinkle (1885 -1962) - The TeWinkles arrived in Costa Mesa in 1920 from New York, and bought a hardware store on Newport Blvd and 18th Street. Mr. TeWinkle was one of Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce’s first nine board members. In 1944, he became a member of the Sanitary Board and was elected the first mayor in 1953. TeWinkle Middle School and TeWinkle Park were later named for him.


Nell Murbarger (1909-1991) - lived in Costa Mesa from 1922-1979 and was a nationally known writer. She published 4 books, Ghosts of the Glory Trail recognized as the best nonfiction book of 1956 by the National Federation of Press Women. Ms. Murbarger received the American Association for State and Local History Award of Merit in 1955. She was also known as “The Roving Reporter of the Desert” and wrote approximately 1,000 articles about the Southwestern United States and Mexico, with a special interest in the rise and fall of mining towns.  Ms. Murbarger’s articles and photographs appeared in Nature Magazine, Desert Magazine, Natural History and Arizona Highways.


Bob Hurley (1955-) - Hurley International is a clothing company located in Costa Mesa, California founded in 1979 by 23-year-old Bob Hurley (along with 2 partners) as Hurley Surfboards/International Pro Designs. The company put emphasis on skateboarding, surfing, music, and "fun". Founder Mr. Hurley, an accomplished surfboard shaper, began his surf wear retail career with Hurley Surfboards in 1978; in 1983 he acquired the Billabong USA license and helped the Australian company carve out a huge retail market share in the United States. In 1998 Mr. Hurley declined to renew his contract with Billabong and launched Hurley International as a clothing brand with men’s, women’s, and kid’s lines. Since 2002, Hurley International has been owned by Nike, Inc.

 Bob Hurley

Carl Diedrich (1915-2001) - Mr. Diedrich was born in Germany and settled in Costa Mesa in 1962. In the early months of World War II, Mr. Diedrich enlisted in the German army, where he served as a spotter in an artillery unit. Shortly after the end of the war, Mr. Diedrich worked for a year as an apprentice at a coffee roaster in Naples Italy. After moving to Costa Mesa, he began roasting coffee in a garage with a hand-crafted machine. In the beginning, Mr. Diedrich gave away bags of beans, but when more people started to show up he decided to charge for the product. He developed a coffee roaster bearing his name and his business later evolved into a chain of coffeehouses.

 Carl Diedrich


Norma Hertzog- Wagner - (September 20th 1928-) Norma Hertzog-Wagner was the first female councilmember and mayor for the City of Costa Mesa (1977-78 and 1984-86). Hertzog-Wagner worked to institute the city's sign ordinance and was instrumental in bringing South Coast Repertory to its current location near the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. Former Costa Mesa Mayor Norma Hertzog was the recipient of the Mayor's Award at the 2nd Annual Celebrating the Art of Leadership event in 2014. She grew up in Canada, went to the University of Ontario and later moved to California. Hertzog- Wagner was a career educator, supported expansion of programs for children, and became very involved in the City of Costa Mesa. She proposed the idea of an application process for the City Council to appoint commissioners as well as consolidating local elections with the national election in November, both of which are still in practice today.



Henry Thomas Segerstrom (April 5, 1923 – February 20, 2015) Henry Segerstrom was an American philanthropist, entrepreneur, cultural leader, and patron of the arts. Managing Partner of C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, he was the founding chairman of the Orange County Performing Arts Center, now known as the Segerstrom Center for the Arts. He was born into a Swedish immigrant family in Santa Ana, California. As managing partner of the family-owned company, C. J. Segerstrom and Sons, a commercial real estate and retail management organization established in 1898, Henry T. Segerstrom spearheaded commercial development in Orange County, California. Under his guidance, C.J. Segerstrom and Sons transformed a quiet agricultural community into a lively, international destination known as South Coast Metro. In March 1967, Henry T. Segerstrom, along with his cousin Hal T. Segerstrom, Jr., opened a shopping center called South Coast Plaza in one of the family's lima bean fields in rapidly growing Orange County. Originally anchored by a May Company that had opened in late 1966 and Sears. Later, Segerstrom began planning for a major retail development in an unincorporated stretch of land owned by his family located between Santa Ana and Costa Mesa. Envisioning a thriving retail center, the project commenced in advance of the San Diego Freeway. Among his many honors and accomplishments, he was most proud of his service as founding chairman of the Orange County Performing Arts Center.



Donald Dungan (1916-1984) - The first city attorney for Costa Mesa from 1953 until 1966. Donald was born in Garden Grove CA. He attended the University of California at Berkley, where he graduated from law school. He joined the army and served in WWII as a tank commander fourth armor division. After his honorable discharge from the army, he moved to Costa Mesa in 1946. Donald served as judge on the Harbor Judiciary District Court for 16 years. He was also appointed to the board of trusties of Newport Harbor High School. 

 Donald Dungan

Leslie (Les) Miller (1914-1995) - In 1958 Les was selected as the first principal of Costa Mesa High School. The first graduation class “1962”. In 1980, he started the Les Miller Outstanding Student Award, still active in 2018. Les was born in Kansas City, Missouri. He moved and settled in Costa Mesa in 1943. The field of education was Les Miller’s primary concern as a principal, teacher, and coach. Les Miller was one of the founding members of the Costa Mesa Newport Harbor Lions Club. He was known as “Mr. Fish Fry.” An annual event that raises money for many local charities.  

Les Miller

 Sharon Lozzi - After graduating at the top of her class from the Orange County Sheriff's Training Academy in 1975, Sharon Lozzi joined the Costa Mesa Police Department as the first female officer. After 5 months she transferred to another department in Southern California. 



Fred F. Allen – (1914-1986) Mr. Allen had been editor of three Orange County newspapers one of which was the Costa Mesa Globe-Herald, the forerunner of the Daily Pilot, and was editor-publisher of the Corona del Mar Ensign during that paper's early years. Later, Allen was founding editor of Orange County Daily News in Garden Grove, and then was the head of communications for the Garden Grove School District until his retirement. He also served as president of the Orange County Press Club and was active in other journalism and civic groups. Allen was born in Chesaning, Mich., and graduated from the University of Michigan with a major in journalism. He served seven years in the U.S. Army before and during World War II, and was a reserve officer and a retired lieutenant colonel. Mr. Allen died of cancer in March of 1986 at Long Beach Veteran's Hospital at the age of 72.

 fred allen

Alice Plumer - Residents of the Town of Harper wanted a more appealing name for the growing community. A contest was held to rename the area with entries coming in as far away as Florida. A former schoolteacher from New Hampshire named Alice Plumer won the nationwide naming contest and received the $25 prize. Ms. Plumer was a resident at the time of the contest and had owned property since 1912. Plumer St is named after her. Harper eventually changed its name to Costa Mesa in 1920.  Alice Plumer is pictured here with her father.  alice plumer
Mitchell D. "Mitch" Hurwitz (born May 29, 1963) is an American television writer, producer, and actor. He is best known as the creator of the television sitcom Arrested Development as well as the co-creator of The Ellen Show, and a contributor to The John Larroquette Show and The Golden Girls.  When Hurwitz was 12, he co-founded a chocolate-chip cookie business, called the Chipyard on Balboa Boulevard in Balboa Fun Zone in a former taco place, with his older brother, Michael, and his father, Mark. He graduated from Estancia High School and from Georgetown University in 1985 with a double major in English and Theology. Hurwitz co-starred as "Cool Eric" in an episode of TV showWorkaholics.

 mitchell hurwitz

Born in Brazil to Chinese immigrants, Wing Lam, Ed Lee, and Mingo Lee combined their unique heritage with Southern California surf culture to create a taco empire on the Westside of Costa Mesa with the opening of the first Wahoo’s Fish Taco in 1988. Growing up speaking Spanish, English, Portuguese, and Chinese, this tenacious trio learned the restaurant business from their father who opened a Chinese restaurant in Brazil, and again in California after moving the family in the 1970s. Fully immersing themselves in the California lifestyle by searching for new waves, the idea for the perfect fish taco came while on a surf trip in Mexico.  wahoo's owners

Michael "Mike" Scheafer was born and raised in the Costa Mesa area.  After graduating from Estancia High School, he attended Orange Coast College and Cal State Fullerton earning a degree in Political Science. A true servant to his community, Mike has held various leadership roles within Costa Mesa including: Costa Mesa Newport Harbor Lions Club, Chair of the Fish Fry, Boys & Girls Club of the Harbor Area, Costa Mesa Senior Center Board Member, Costa Mesa United Board Member, South Coast Children’s Society, and the Newport Elks Lodge. He also served on the Costa Mesa City Council, the Costa Mesa Parks and Recreation Commission, and as one of the Directors of the Costa Mesa Sanitary District. A lover of baseball, Mike was one of the original founders of the Costa Mesa Little League and continues coaching youth baseball today with his son Matt.

 MIke Schaefer

William “Bill” Burke was born in Washington D.C. but has spent most of his life as a resident of California and currently resides in Costa Mesa. As a graduate of Stanford Law School, Bill lead a successful career as an attorney both in the Unites States and abroad. He successfully argued cases in multiple federal appellate court circuits, in the California Supreme Court, as well as the United States Supreme Court. By the time he retired from practicing law at the age of 60, he had earned five lifetime achievement awards for his work as a lecturer, writer, and law reformer.

After his retirement from his already distinguished career, Bill decided to become an adventurer and mountaineer. After summiting the highest peak in North America, Denali, he went on to summit the highest peaks in each continent. By age 67 in 2009, Bill earned the distinction of being the oldest American to ever reach the summit of Mt. Everest and make it back alive. Bill is the subject of a documentary called Eight Summits: The Bill Burke Story and maintains a blog also named Eight Summits.
The late Raymond “Mike” Healey began his career with CMPD in 1954 as one of Costa Mesa’s first seven police officers. Mike served the department for 26 years and rose to the rank of lieutenant. Mike contributed to the department’s growth in various ways throughout his career. Mike had an interest in photography since childhood that he drew upon to help create the department’s photo lab. Mike was also traveled over the country to examine the design of various police stations to evaluate which designs would work for Costa Mesa’s new headquarters, which was built in 1967. Mike also played a key role in the establishment of the department’s dispatch center. During the holidays, Mike donned the traditional red velvet suit complete with white trim, a hat, and beard to be jolly and spread holiday cheer on behalf of CMPD’s holiday program. Mike outdid all amateur and professional Santas across the nation by flying from school to school to deliver candy canes to all Costa Mesa’s good little boys and girls, not in a sleigh with reindeer, but with a police helicopter. Upon his retirement from CMPD, Mike served on the Mesa Water District’s board for ten years and spent two of them as the board’s president. 


Photo courtesy of the Mesa Water District.


If you are interested in submitting a name and a brief description of a Costa Mesa Notable using the above criteria, please contact the Costa Mesa Historical Preservation Committee at