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HAM radio enthusiast dies at 97

Arthur Josiah Casebeer, Jr., former Laguna Beach Planning Commissioner and Design Review Board member, died May 20 in his Laguna Beach home. He was 97.

Casebeer was born to Arthur J. and Florence Churchill Casebeer in Pasadena on October 16, 1909.

Raised in Pasadena and San Diego, he attended UCLA and Caltech. Working in engineering and manufacturing, Casebeer was employed by Vultee Aircraft, Roehm, Cannon Electric and C-F before joining Lockheed Aircraft in Burbank, where he helped create the L1011.

In 1936, he met Julie Domie at the Theatre Americana in Altadena, where he worked in lighting and she handled scripts.


On April 21, 1939 they married in the Church of our Savior in San Gabriel and began a family. An early HAM radio enthusiast, Casebeer built his own radios and built the family’s first television set from scratch. W6DRL was his handle, and over the years he established relationships with fellow HAM operators all over the world.

In 1975, Casebeer retired from Lockheed and the couple moved to his wife’s family home in Laguna Beach. Soon Casebeer became involved in local politics and community activities.

He served on the Parking, Traffic & Circulation Committee, the Design Review Board, and the Planning Commission. He was also a board member of the Laguna Beach Taxpayer’s Assn. and the North Laguna Community Assn., of which he was a founding member.

As a Planning Commissioner, Casebeer worked on the first concepts for the Village Entrance Project.


He is survived by his wife of 68 years; sons, Paul, of South Pasadena and Chris, of Santa Barbara; and grandchildren Taylor, Charlotte and Jeremy.

A celebration of Casebeer’s life will take place at 4 p.m. Wednesday at the home of Ann McDonald.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests that any donations be directed to Laguna Beach Seniors, Inc., 384 Legion St., Laguna Beach.