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Former Newport Beach city manager dies at 82

December 02, 2013|By Jill Cowan
  • Bob Wynn with his five kids, Franny, Susan, Steve, Chris and Greg at a family reunion at Beaver Creek in 2009.
Bob Wynn with his five kids, Franny, Susan, Steve, Chris… (Courtesy Wynn family )

Former Newport Beach City Manager Robert Wynn died Saturday morning following a fall in his garden on Thanksgiving Day, family members said. He was 82.

Friends and family members remembered Wynn on Monday as a hard-working city administrator who remained deeply engaged in the community long after he retired in 1991.

"Even still now, I heard him talking about privatizing the city trash department, the pros and cons of that, and building the city hall," said his son, Newport Beach orthodontist Steve Wynn. "He took pride in the city and enjoyed being here."

Current City Manager Dave Kiff said that in retirement Wynn joined "a nice cadre" of former Newport Beach administrators who stayed active in the city, dispensing wisdom and keeping an eye on the latest issues.

"He'd every now and then say how he thought things were going," Kiff said. "He was always there, able to give advice, if I wanted it."

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During his term as city manager, Wynn was particularly effective in the business arena, said Mike Browning, a Newport Beach Police Department chaplain and close family friend.

His father grew up a "farm boy" in Idaho, Steve Wynn said, which instilled in him a strong work ethic and a sense of frugality — values that carried over into his work first as a city manager first in San Diego County then in Newport starting in 1971.

"He used to teach us, if anything's worth doing, it's worth doing right," Steve Wynn said, adding that despite his position, his father often stressed returning phone calls or letters, "even if the response was going to be negative."

He recalled that his father designated each Saturday morning as a time for chores at the family's home in the Harbor View neighborhood, where Wynn lived until he died. Then, Steve Wynn said, he and his four siblings could enjoy the rest of the day playing sports or going to the beach.

"If he had a hobby, I think it's probably getting chores done and doing a good deed," Steve Wynn said.

Since Wynn's wife, Gayle, died in 1993, he had spent his days entertaining his 16 grandchildren, and talking San Diego Chargers football, his son said.

A memorial service is scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, at 2300 Bonita Canyon Drive.

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