Newport businessman killed in helicopter crash is remembered as a ‘bon vivant’ and ‘mentor’
A Newport Beach businessman who was one of three people killed when a helicopter crashed into a home Tuesday is remembered by his children as the ultimate family man who radiated warmth and passion.
Joseph Anthony Tena, 60, was identified as one of four people aboard the Robinson R44 copter when it slammed into a home on Shearwater Place near Egret Court in the Bayview Terrace community of Newport Beach.
Kimberly Lynne Watzman, 45, of Santa Monica and Brian Reichelt, 56, of Hollywood, Fla., also died in the crash. Two other people — a passenger in the helicopter and a pedestrian on the ground — were injured, authorities said.
The four-seat helicopter went down shortly after taking off from John Wayne Airport on its way to Catalina Island, according to Joshua Cawthra, a senior investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board.
Authorities have not confirmed who was piloting the copter. Tena, nicknamed “Pepe,” is the only person identified in the crash who had a pilot’s license, according to Federal Aviation Administration records. He received his private license for helicopters in August 2014.
The NTSB and FAA are investigating the crash.
Tena was born June 13, 1957, in Huelva, Spain. He first came to Southern California in 1975 to attend Pepperdine University. He later immigrated to the area to raise his four daughters — Gabriela, Marta, Alejandra and Carlota — with his second wife, Marta Aza, according to his children.
His family wrote in a statement that Tena loved to travel and often visited relatives in Spain. He also enjoyed playing soccer, boating, music and dancing.
“Truly a bon vivant, he left this life as he lived it, enjoying it to its fullest and not taking any moment for granted,” his family wrote.
Tena, a developer and entrepreneur, was the chief executive of Ferrado Group, a real estate investment firm with a location in Newport Beach.
Ferrado Group’s lodging holdings include the Standard hotels in the New York, Los Angeles and Miami areas in collaboration with Andre Balazs, according to a 2016 news release.
Watzman was the general manager of the Standard hotel in West Hollywood and had worked for the company for nearly 11 years, according to a company representative. Reichelt had been the regional finance director for parent company Standard International since 2011.
Tena also had an ownership stake in Revolution Aviation, a flight school and touring company at John Wayne Airport that had leased the R44 copter from Spitzer Helicopter LLC of Canyon Lake in Riverside County, according to public records.
Investigators said Tuesday’s ill-fated flight was not part of a class or sightseeing tour.
Revolution Aviation called Tena a “dear friend” and “mentor.”
“The management of Revolution Aviation wants to express our deep sadness at the loss of those aboard one of our helicopters Tuesday afternoon,” the company said in a statement Thursday. “We know their families are heartbroken.”
“We also are aware that there was one survivor aboard for whom we wish a rapid and complete recovery,” the statement said.
Tena is survived by his daughters; his son, Jose “Joey” Tena, from his first marriage; his grandson, Pepe X. Tena; and his third wife, Lily Glazer.
A paddle-out in Tena’s honor is scheduled for 9 a.m. Saturday near the Newport Pier.
Fry writes for the Daily Pilot.
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