Donnie Crevier’s contributions to Laguna overflow the pages of the
Exchange Club’s Book of Golden Deeds.
The annual award was presented to Crevier at a luncheon held at
the Hotel Laguna. More than 60 admirers and club members attended,
including past recipients Doris Shields, Sande St. John and Grant
“I joined the club because of its covenant of service and the
quality of the people,” the Rev. Chuck Maier said before giving the
Crevier exemplifies both.
“Every time I have called on a fund-raiser, I get a check,” said
Katy Moss, past club president.
The national Exchange Club promotes Americanism and raises funds
for the prevention of child abuse. The local chapters also raise
funds for community organizations and scholarships.
However, The Laguna Exchange Club is only one of many
organizations that have benefited from Crevier’s generosity.
“Donnie has served on the Boys and Girls Club board twice, the
last time for 10 years,” said Kim Maxwell, club director. “He has
single-handedly raised almost $3 million on behalf of the kids.”
Crevier has also supported the Laguna Beach Education Foundation,
known better as SchoolPower, and the Laguna Beach Club for Kids.
His generous hand has also touched the Huntington Beach Art Center
and the Fran Jostwick Center, which provides horseback riding for the
developmentally or physically challenged. He has also helped in Santa
Ana, where his BMW dealership is.
“BMW gave him an award for excellence given only to the top 30
dealers in the country for community and customer service,” Moss
Moss and Hal and Sandi Werthe organized the luncheon honoring
“The Book of Golden Deeds is awarded to citizens who have made
their community better,” Hal Werthe said.
Even Crevier’s competitors admire him.
Mary and Nick Alexander, owners of a rival dealership, sent an
affectionate letter of congratulations that was read at the luncheon.
But Crevier’s roots are in Laguna, and his longtime friends made
the most of the occasion.
“We have been friends for 50-plus years, best friends for 40-plus
years,” Rick Balzer said. “How many of you [at the luncheon] parked
your car at the hotel? Was the attendant helpful? Forty years ago,
that was Donnie.
After his parents divorced, Crevier lived here with his mother
until he was 14, when he was shipped off to Pasadena where his father
lived with his new wife.
“I showed up on the doorstep with a pack of Marlboros and a
terrible attitude,” Crevier said, paying tribute to his stepmother
Lee Crevier, now divorced from his father, Bob Crevier.
Both attended the luncheon, as did Crevier’s “best girl,” Laurie
“When he left to live with his dad in Pasadena, we thought we
would never see him again,” Balzer said. “Everything east of PCH was
foreign territory, and Pasadena was a black hole.”
Crevier did come back to Laguna to attend high school. He was a
running back on the football team and graduated in 1963.
“He was not voted the most likely to succeed,” Balzer said.
Crevier went to work for the Theodore Robbins car dealership when
he was 21, became a successful salesman and eventually owner of a
dealership -- and always ready to help.
“I was newly divorced in the ‘70s and I couldn’t get a car loan,”
Marianne Raczkowski said. “He made it possible in three hours, after
I had been turned down by three banks.
“It was a small thing for Donnie, but very big for me,” she said.
Mike Lane has been Crevier’s friend and employee for 32 years.
“One day, he invited me to lunch.” Lane said. “We had a nice
table, nice service. He was speaking to the waitress when the check
came. I fumbled for it, but Crevier grabbed it. It was for $14 and he
left a $5 tip. I told him it was too much. He said, ‘That’s how they
make their living.’ I have never forgotten that.”
Joe Baker has been running with Crevier for 30 years.
“I am at least as good a friend as Balzer,” Baker said. “We are
starting our fourth decade of running.
Club President John Bush presented Crevier with the Book of Golden
“You exemplify the highest values of the Exchange Club,” Bush
Other award winners were the late Lorna Mills, a banker who
collected Laguna Beach impressionists’ art and donated it to the
Festival of Arts for safekeeping here; George Pletz, a police officer
who played Santa Claus for Laguna ‘s children; Dick Jahraus, who
served on the Laguna Beach County Water District Board for more than
25 years; Barbara Painter, who helped the high school obtain weight
training equipment; Vincent Carroll; and Sandra Thornton, whose name
is almost synonymous with community service.
Newly elected Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, retired Laguna Beach
Fire Department Captain Bing Boka, Hobie Sports owner Mark Christy,
insurance broker Pat Freeman, restaurant owners Philo and Diane
Smith, contractor Al Oligno, Grace Maier and Yosuko Bush were among
those who attended the luncheon.
One more reason to give thanks: the City Council voted 3-0 at the
Nov. 19 meeting to name the affordable housing project at 450
Glenneyre St. in honor of the late Alice Graves.
“Considering the efforts that Alice put forth to promote
affordable housing and to assist less fortunate individuals in our
community, I believe it would be fitting to name the units after
Alice,” retiring Councilman Paul Freeman said.
A plaque will be installed in a suitable spot on the premises. It
will be the second plaque honoring Graves. In August, the council
voted unanimously to place a plaque in Heisler Park in recognition of
the city’s debt to Graves.
“The relationship between Alice and the community was a marriage
made in heaven,” the Rev. Colin Henderson said. “Time and again, it
was Alice and the community who went out and took action.
Graves also was active in the Laguna Beach Resource Cente;, Cold
Night Shelters, which provide beds and blankets for the homeless when
temperatures drop; Cafe Pacifica, where the homeless could get a good
meal; and Friendship Shelter.
Naming the housing project for Alice honored not just her, but all
of those who worked with here on numerous projects, Henderson said.
“Colin said it all,” said John Graves, who attended the meeting
with his late wife’s close friend Evelyn Munroe.
* OUR LAGUNA is a regular feature of the Laguna Beach Coastline
Pilot. Contributions are welcomed. Write to Barbara Diamond, P.O. Box
248, Laguna Beach, 92652, hand-deliver to 384 Forest Ave., Suite 22;
call 494-4321 or fax 494-8979.