Newport Beach: Ferguson, a homebuilder and wife of assemblyman, dies

Daily Pilot

Noted home builder Anita Ferguson, the wife of late Assemblyman Gil Ferguson, has died, family members said Monday.

Ferguson succumbed to cancer Sunday evening at Hoag Memorial Hospital Presbyterian, her son Jay Ferguson said. She was 84.

Anita Ferguson lived in the Bluffs neighborhood near Corona del Mar High School. She and her husband moved to Newport Beach in 1970 and lived on the Balboa Peninsula, Balboa Island, Corona del Mar and other neighborhoods throughout the city. Both were active in civic life, the Republican Party and political activism.

Anita and Gil Ferguson ran Gilita Homebuilding Co, which was named using letters from both of their first names. The company built many of the custom homes in Newport's Spyglass neighborhood.

Gil Ferguson served in the state Assembly as the Newport Beach-area representative from 1984 to 1994. He died at age 84 in 2007. Jay Ferguson, 51, who works in commercial real estate and homebuilding, is currently running for his dad's old Assembly seat.

Anita Ferguson was born in the city of Orange in 1926. Save for the time her husband served in the Marines, she lived the bulk of her life in Orange County. She and Gil Ferguson — they met as students at USC — married in 1948.

She is survived by four grown children, nine grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The family has not yet scheduled services.

— John Canalis

Costa Mesa Car auction pulls into fairgrounds An internationally recognized auctioneer of classic cars is planning a large event in Costa Mesa. The Barrett-Jackson Auction Co. plans to host an auction of rare, vintage and exotic cars June 25-27 at the Orange County Fair and Event Center.

Barrett-Jackson hosts "The World's Great Collector Car Auctions" in Scottsdale, Ariz., Palm Beach, Fla., and Las Vegas. To gear up for the Orange County event, the auction company will stage a "road rally" featuring local car clubs on June 19. Participants will gather at 2 p.m. at South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., meet withe Costa Mesa police for a safety check and then at 3 p.m. drive to the fairgrounds.

Following the rally, Barrett-Jackson plans to stage a small car show at the fairgrounds with food, beverage and live entertainment.

There are 100 spots available for the rally. Orange County car clubs can register by contacting Barrett-Jackson's Danica Solesbee at dsolesbee@barrett-jackson.com or (480) 421-6694. Participants will receive a T-shirt and two free tickets to the automobile auction.

— Staff reports Laguna Beach Mayor upbeat in sate of the city address Mayor Elizabeth Pearson did some bragging at the recent State of the City Luncheon about the city's accomplishments in the past couple of years, tempered by the economy and gave hints of better days to come.

Pearson was the keynote speaker at the annual Chamber of Commerce luncheon at Montage Laguna. She spoke on the overall state of the city, but honed in on economic issues that impact the city's business community, much of it echoed by representatives of elected officials at the state and county levels.

"Clearly the state of California is not the ideal place to do business — as evidenced by the recent sixth survey of Chief Executive magazine, which ranked California as the 51st least desirable place to do business, behind all other 49 states and the District of Columbia," Pearson said. "It's not easy opening and operating a business in our state. But it's going to start being a little easier in Laguna Beach.

"I'm here to tell you today that there's a frame of mind at City Hall when it comes to helping our businesses — and potential businesses coming in — and it's this: We want you here; we want you to thrive; we will do our part to be more friendly and approachable to help you be successful; our minds and doors are open to you.

"And I know all of you here today are with me on this."

— Barbara Diamond

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