Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger was one of the few who knew that Patrick and Bonnie were the Dilleys' collies. She also knew that he called automobiles "infernal combustion machines."
The Dilleys lived in Three Arch Bay before South Laguna was annexed into the city, which foiled one of his plans.
"He had the notion to apply for the Planning Commission," Arnold Hano said. "I told him he didn't live in Laguna and he didn't talk to me for a year."
Before moving to Laguna Beach, Jim Dilley was a professor of medieval history at San Mateo Junior College and his wife, Jeannette, taught at San Mateo High School, according to David Kristjanson, who had been one of her students.
Ron Chilcote shared the information that Dilley also founded the Citizens Planning Assn.
However, nothing took precedence over his dream to create a greenbelt to buffer the sprawl creeping up on Laguna.
Inspired by the green spaces he had seen on a trip to England, Dilley founded Laguna Greenbelt Inc. in 1968.
What a joy it would have been for him to see the swaths of open space preserved and protected through the efforts of the organization he founded.
The 22,000-acre Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is the second largest coastal open space preserve. Only the Santa Monica Mountains National Reserve is larger.
But the work of the Laguna Greenbelt is not done.
An initiative to preserve the important wildlife habitat connection between the Laguna Greenbelt/South Coast Wilderness and the Cleveland National Park is a top priority. The FBI wants it for a training ground.
Greenbelt volunteers enhanced the protected areas not only from vandalism but by new plantings cradled in the Greenbelt Nursery run by Robert Lawson. The results can be seen in Aliso Woods and Laurel canyons, and along Laguna Canyon Road, but don't expect them to stand out — these are natives.
Volunteers also fight the good fight against the invasion of the unwanted vegetation, such as the dreaded pampas grass.
The nonprofit Laguna Greenbelt is governed by a board of directors headed by perennial President Elisabeth Brown. Pamela Quigley and Chilcote serve as vice presidents. Richard Picheny is the treasurer.
Directors include Norm Grossman, Bob Borthwick, Robert House, Francine Scinto, Allan Schoenherr, Patricia Twitty, Lance Vallery, Lenny Vincent and Jill Cremer.
New members are welcomed. For more information, visit http://www.lagunagreenbelt.org.
OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Call (714) 966-4618 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with Attn. Barbara Diamond in the subject line.