Wilson gave his heart and soul to making...


December 30, 2004


Wilson gave his heart and soul to making Goat Hill a bona fide

city. He died Jan. 4 of congestive heart failure. He was 86.

Wilson persevered in getting Costa Mesa incorporated and showed

the same determination in his final days. Wilson told the Pilot in

December 2003 that he wanted to make it to Christmas so he could

spend the day with four generations of his family. The Wilsons bought


their first home in Costa Mesa in 1948 on East Flower Street.

Their home soon became a hotbed of activism: those who wanted to

see the area become a city met there for brainstorming sessions.

Incorporation supporters triumphed on June 29, 1953. That same year,

Wilson was appointed to the Planning Commission and served as its

chairman. In 1960, he was elected to the City Council, where he

served for 16 years, including three stints as mayor. During his

political life, he spearheaded the building of the first City Hall,

helped bring the Costa Mesa Golf and Country Club to the city and

aided the acquisition of the land for Fairview Park.


The Ritz founder died Jan. 17 at 74 after a heart attack and

stroke. Prager was a culinary genius and philanthropist whose name is

practically synonymous with fine dining. T

he celebrated restaurateur made his mark in Newport Beach, when he

opened the Ritz Restaurant and Garden. Prager escaped from Nazi

Germany with his family when he was a child and lived in Shanghai,

China before coming to the United States. Once here, he worked at the

Waldorf-Astoria Hotel, where he honed his talent for cooking. On the

West Coast, he worked at Scandia restaurant and then managed the Five

Crowns in Corona del Mar. Prager found success in many of his

business ventures, opening restaurants in Irvine and Westminster. In

1977, he opened the Ritz in a tiny storefront in Newport Beach.

After its initial success -- credited to the delicious food,

elegant ambience and Prager's incredible attention to detail, a

regular customer convinced him to move to its present location in

Fashion Island.


The longtime Daily Pilot advertising director worked at the paper

for 21 years, helping to return it to profitability through her

strong character, leadership, creativity and dedication. She died

Feb. 26 at 51.

As the advertising director, Oetting handled people with the ease

of a seasoned psychiatrist -- be it her superiors, those who worked

under her or the advertisers who bought space in the paper, said the

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