Longtime Dana Point resident Ingrid McGuire has been selected as this year’s Founders Day honoree.  Ingrid will be honored at our annual Founders Day event on Wednesday, May 22.  This will be held at the Community House at 24642 San Juan Avenue.  Social hour begins at 6 p.m. followed by our meeting and award presentation at approximately 6:45.

Founders Day Honoree Ingrid McGuire by Mary Crowl

A truly civic-minded person, Ingrid McGuire has been involved in community activities almost from the moment she and her husband, Jim, bought a home in Monarch Bay Terrace in 1979. Until 1989 that area was part of Laguna Niguel, so that is where she started. First, she was elected to her Homeowners Association Board and, in 1981, she was elected to the Laguna Niguel Community Council.  In 1985 Ingrid was elected to the South Coast Water Board using her degree in chemistry and experience working at Monsanto Chemical as worthy credentials.

Ingrid soon became involved in the incorporation activities of Dana Point and worked toward including the Monarch Beach area as part of our coastal city. She formed a group called Monarch Bay Terrace Neighbors for Dana Point and initiated a postcard mailing to every resident of that area advocating a vote for Dana Point and asking them to choose a name for the area. The name Monarch Beach was the overwhelming favorite and its residents did vote to join Dana Point.

The election for the first City Council of Dana Point was held in June, 1988. Ingrid ran at that time and was elected to that first City Council. She reports that it was an exciting but precarious six months in getting the city organized by a council that had no money, no authority, no place to meet and no insurance coverage. However, as of January 1, 1989, when incorporation became effective, the council assumed the authority and responsibility of getting Dana Point up and running. Ingrid will, thus, always be in the history books as a participant of Dana Point’s very beginning.

Since hers was one of the short terms, Ingrid had to run again in 1990, which she did (without good planning, as she says) and lost that election. So, in 1992, she ran again for the South Coast Water District Board and was elected, and was re-elected to that board in 1996.

In 1998, Ingrid was a candidate again for City Council and was elected and became Mayor in 2000.  She decided not to run for reelection in 2002 because of the recent loss of her husband. However, never one to slack in her civic duties, she did run again for the Water Board but lost that election.  In 2004 she was a candidate for the Water Board and was elected and was subsequently reelected in 2008.  She then retired at the end of that term, in 2012, after more than 30 years at the service of the community.

This long record of service is quite remarkable given that the young Ingrid came to this country from Austria as a college student, met Jim McGuire, a PhD student and her husband to be, while here and eventually came back after getting married in her home town in Austria. There followed some busy years with Ingrid working at Monsanto Chemical in Ohio near where her husband was employed, finishing her degree at Ohio State and several subsequent moves for her husband’s employment. Those moves included a stay in California before spending seven years in Saigon during and after the Vietnam War, where her husband was working for an American firm that had a consulting contract with the government.  They came back to California in 1979 when her husband took a job with Boeing, and so began her long years of community involvement recounted here—a life history that certainly qualifies her as an outstanding Founder of Dana Point.