John Wayne Park will now serve as a tangible reminder of one of Newport Beach’s most famous residents. On Friday, May 26th, John Wayne family members, residents, and dignitaries alike joined together for a ceremony and park dedication of the new John Wayne Park, complete with a color guard and mounted cavalry.
Former Mayor Evelyn Hart kicked things off, welcoming the community to the park directly next to the Newport Beach Theater Arts Center where she had the pleasure of installing a John Wayne diorama in 1981. With current Mayor Kevin Muldoon presiding, the dedication included comments from Ronnie Guyer, SPC E-4 US Army speaking about old “John Wayne tabs” he and his friends would carry, Mayor Pro Tem Duffy Duffield reminiscing about his father’s friendship with John Wayne, and Ethan Wayne, John Wayne’s youngest son and the current President of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation.
“Standing here, overlooking the beautiful Pacific Ocean, steps from where I grew up and where the Wild Goose is docked, I know my dad would be overwhelmed and honored with the recognition being bestowed upon him today. I am thrilled to know that future generations will be able to come to this beautiful park and remember my dad as an example of kindness, strength, and grit.”
A treat for the guests, country artist Runaway June, including Jennifer Wayne, John Wayne’s granddaughter, performed the National Anthem. Also in attendance was former Mayor and current President of the Newport Beach Chamber of Commerce Steve Rosansky, Assemblyman Matthew Harper, Newport Beach City Councilmembers Diane Dixon, Jeff Herdman, Scott Peotter, Chief of Police Jon Lewis, Interim Fire Chief Chip Duncan, and various Commissioner’s and City Staff. Guests were invited to a private reception in honor of the John Wayne Cancer Foundation immediately following.
Special thanks to the City of Newport Beach for the honor and Troop 744 Newport Beach Boy Scouts of America.