2015 Citizen of the Year Gala Honoring Paul Watkins
Date/TimeDate(s) - 11/13/2015
6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
LocationBalboa Bay Resort
1221 W. Coast Highway
Newport Beach, CA 92660
Join us as we honor our 2015 Newport Beach Citizen of the Year, Paul Watkins.
The evening will feature…
- Butler passed hors d’oeuvres
- A delicious three course dinner with wine
- Dancing with live entertainment
See the bottom of this page for online reservations.
A native Californian, Paul Watkins was born to Ruth (“Sunny”) and Keene Watkins on August 3, 1946 in Pasadena, California at Huntington Memorial Hospital. He is one half of a pair of twins, arriving 6 minutes after his sister Mary (or “Meems” as he calls her). His father was a West Point/Stanford Law grad who spent the War in the Pentagon under General Eisenhower and was one of the first lawyers hired at Latham and Watkins in Los Angeles after the War.
Paul, Meems, and Faith (older sister of the twins by three years) lived with their folks in San Marino, located near Pasadena. Paul went to Pasadena Polytechnic (the Panthers) where he played football, basketball, baseball, and captained the golf team. He then graduated three times from USC—BA (political science) (member of Beta Theta Pi frat), MBA (finance), and JD (law degree). At USC Paul was a member of the University of Southern California Law Review.
The Watkins family began coming to Newport in the early 1950’s. They rented a house on a yearly basis on Seashore Drive. Paul and his Dad were frequent visitors to Al Forgit Hardware (where Rush Hill’s business is now located) for repair/maintenance supplies, and to Richards Market (owned by Dick Richards, formerly a prominent member of the Chamber) where a single scoop of ice cream was a nickel. Sometimes, the family would go to Will Wrights ice cream on PCH near Dover, to the Jolly Roger on the Island, to Victor Hugo’s in Laguna (where Las Brisas is now), to Gene Burton’s Carousel (where Paul’s Mom and sisters would shop) near the Lido Marina Village, and to the Lido Theater where he vividly remembers seeing Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho when it was first released in 1960. Paul and his twin sis would take turns as skipper and crew on their 12-foot Snowbird while sailing out of Newport Harbor Yacht Club in the early 60’s. Yes, Paul is really old and has been around Newport forever.
Paul began his legal career when he joined a large law firm in San Diego. Subsequently, he joined the Drummy Garrett firm in Newport Beach in 1978 and then formed his own firm in 1991. He is currently practicing on MacArthur Boulevard in Newport Beach where he has a busy real estate law practice.
Proudly married to Ronnie for over four years, Paul proposed to her at the 2011 Christmas Boat Parade Awards Dinner in front of 350 people after purchasing the last live auction item that night which was a “Grab Bag”. Unbeknownst to anyone except Paul, and a couple of others, the bag contained an engagement ring. The bidding went to $5500 and Paul “won” the “Grab Bag”. Paul called Ronnie out from the audience, dropped to one knee and popped the question.
Paul (now with Ronnie and their 15-year-old cat named Tiger) has lived on the ocean front for 33 years. Paul has two fantastic kids: Nick age 30 (born on Paul’s birthday of August 3) and Kiki age 28. Blessed to have three great stepchildren (Dava, Brett, and Grant) and a first grandchild (Quinn Mackey McCoy—how’s that for an Irish name!!) They can’t wait to spoil additional grandkids.
A long standing commitment to public service has been a hallmark of Paul’s life and is the reason he is our 2015 Citizen of the Year. He began attending the Chamber Government Affairs Committee (under Chair Rush Hill) around the year 2000, joined the Board of Directors in 2002, chaired a number of Chamber Councils/Committees (including the Boat Parade Awards Dinner Committee), and was Chair of the Chamber during the 2010-2011 fiscal year. He continues to serve as a Board Member today. Paul was elected to the Commodores Club in 2008.
From a community standpoint, Paul chaired the Charter Update Committee in 2012, served on the Charter Update Commission under Chairwoman Marian Bergeson in 2010, and has served on numerous advisory committees in the City. Paul received the Chamber’s Silver Anchor Award in 2011. Paul was a member of the West Newport Beach Association Board of Directors for 15 years and served as President or Co-President of WNBA for 5 years.
Paul is also past President of the Santa Ana Country Club where Paul has been a member for over 35 years and continues to serve on a number of Club Committees. Paul plays golf badly, jogs every morning at O Dark Hundred, and is a huge Angels fan, having held season tickets with a group since 1978.
Paul is incredibly blessed to have many friends, colleagues, and memories from his life in Newport.