Robert D. Hoyt, Former Mayor of Orange, Dies


Robert Duncan Hoyt, who became the first mayor of Orange to be directly elected by voters in 1978, died of lung cancer Saturday at his home here. He was 71.

During his term as mayor, from 1976 to 1980, Hoyt oversaw the preservation of the historic Old Town section of the city and instituted the city’s paramedic squad.

Born and raised in Orange, Hoyt graduated from Orange High School before joining the Navy in 1942 and fighting in the Pacific Theater.


After his return from the war, he co-founded the Orange Furniture Store in 1947 and went on to become an officer of the First National Bank of Orange County. In 1982, he was the organizing president and CEO of California City Bank.

Hoyt was president of a number of civic organizations during his life, including the Orange Chamber of Commerce, the Orange Rotary Club, Orange Toastmasters Club and Community Bankers of Southern California. He also served on the boards of the Boy Scouts, the YMCA and the Rancho Santiago Foundation.

Named Orange Citizen of the Year in 1974, Hoyt had an orange grove preserved in his name by the City Council when he left office in 1980. The grove, the Robert D. Hoyt Municipal Orange Grove, is in Hart Park.

“He was very proud of his Scottish heritage,” said his wife, Jessie Hoyt. “He was proud of the fact that he was president of Community Bankers of Southern California, and he was proud of the fact that he was married to me for 50 years.”

In addition to his wife, Hoyt is survived by a son, Douglas Hoyt of Indio, a daughter, Claudia Arms of Menifee, a brother, Richard Hoyt, and four grandchildren, Jennifer Hoyt, Rachael Arms, William Arms and Robert Arms.

Funeral services will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Waverley Church, 1702 E. Fairhaven Ave., Santa Ana.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to VNA Hospice or Ronald McDonald House, both in Orange.