In Memory

Richard S Stevens - Class Of 1948

Richard S Stevens

Richard S. Stevens, co-owner and president of the Balboa Bay Club in the 1960s and 1970s, a commissioner for the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and developer of resorts and clubs throughout the world, died early October 14, 2010, peacefully in his sleep at home with his family.  He was 80.

Stevens was born July 4, 1930, in Long Beach, California to Margaret and Merrill Stevens.  He attended high school in South Pasadena and studied at UC Berkeley, where he also was a running back on the football team and played in the Rose Bowl three times.  He had football and track scholarships.  After he graduated in 1951, Stevens served in the U.S. Army in Japan and Korea in the early 1950s.  Later, he returned to Southern California and became a businessman with a flair for the resort industry.

"He was just that person who loves the deal," said his daughter, Sandra Stevens Weston.  "He had an incredible way of putting people together.  It was fun to work with him.  He always had irons in the fire."

During his tenure as Balboa Bay Club president, Stevens grew membership from 800 to more than 3,500 and pioneered the concept of year-round living in a resort environment.  During that time, he developed the Hamilton Cove project on Catalina Island.  Stevens also was co-founder of the Bellport Group, which operated marinas throughout the world.

He was president of Wrather Hotels, which included the 1,400-room Disneyland Hotel.  He supervised a team that developed Marina Costa Baja in Mexico.  He was involved in managing and creating projects including WestWorld in Scottsdale, Arizona, Monterra Ranch in Monterey, Cabin Bar Ranch in Olancha, and Fisher Island Resort in Florida.  He was president and CEO of the Disneyland Hotel from 1977 to 1982, and in 1985, he was president and CEO of the Los Angeles Express, a United States Football League franchise.  Of all his accomplishments and projects, Stevens was most proud of the Spruce Goose and Queen Mary and opening them as tourist attractions in Long Beach.

"He had a thing about Howard Hughes," his daughter Stevens Weston said.  "He really admired him."

Over the past three decades, Stevens faced heart attacks, colon cancer, and a heart transplant, leading friends to remark that he had 14 lives.  He and his wife, Joan, wrote a book in 2009 called "Never Give Up! The Six Secret Steps You Must Take to Protect Your Own Life."

He is survived by his wife of 33 years, Joan Stevens; his daughter Sandra Stevens Weston and her husband Peter Weston; and his son Chris Stevens and his wife Jae-Eun Stevens; and stepchildren Lisa and Brad Levine; and his beloved dog, Charlie.

The Orange County Register, October 17, 2010