Martin Senat, the president of the Preservation Society of Huntington Dog Beach, has died. He was 81.
Senat, who had been in declining health, died Sunday of unspecified causes, according to Amy Tucker, the chief financial officer for the preservation society.
A Huntington Beach resident for decades, Senat had moved to Northern California in 2008 to be near his daughter.
An Englishman who worked as an insurance salesman before retiring, Senat founded the nonprofit society in 1997 to preserve the Dog Beach, a strip of shoreline in Huntington Beach where dogs can run and play without a leash. Senat's group maintains, cleans and raises funds for the Dog Beach and was a major factor in the national magazine Dog Fancy labeling Huntington Beach "DogTown USA" in 2009.
Tucker released a statement Wednesday that she said Senat had written last year and asked to be released in the event of his death.
"Little did I realize 50 years ago when I arrived in the USA, ready to conquer this great country with my knowledge of real estate, finance and insurance, that my greatest challenge and happiness would lay not in buying or selling large homes or $1-million insurance policies, but in a small strip of sand and water in Huntington Beach now known as Dog Beach," the statement reads.
Tucker said Senat, a dog owner himself, was a common sight at the beach he helped preserve.
"He felt he was the grandfather of all the dogs that came there," she said. "He just loved them and loved people, and he wanted to express that."
A memorial service is planned for 6:30 p.m. Aug. 7 near Tower 26 at the dog beach.
— Michael Miller