| Ray Watson passes |
Key planner for Irvine Co., former Disney Chair
Orange County Business Journal
Raymond L. Watson, a former Irvine Company president and a board member of Walt Disney Co. for more than 30 years, passed away on Saturday from complications of Parkinson's disease, his family announced. He was 86.
Watson was the first planner and architect for Newport Beach-based Irvine Co., and designed some of the first villages for the city of Irvine. He also played a key part in the creation of the University of California, Irvine.
Watson joined the board of Walt Disney Co. in 1974, and served as chairman of the board of the company during a nine-month stretch in 1983 and 1984, a period that saw him help fend off a pair of hostile takeover attempts. Watson helped oversee the 1982 opening of Florida’s Epcot Center, which at the time was touted as the largest private land development project ever. He retired from the Disney board in 2004.
A memorial service for Ray Watson is tentatively planned for Nov. 11 in the Irvine area.
by Mark Mueller