Saturday, July 13, 2024

Live Like Stan: A Dedicated Memorial Plaque at Stan’s Beach

Prior to the unveiling

A beautiful autumn day lent itself as the a perfect backdrop while community and friends gathered to honor a lost friend, mentor, father and husband. On January 5th of this year, the Coronado and southern California surfing community lost Stan Searfus, a universally loved waterman who possessed an energy and spirit that touched the lives of everyone whose path he crossed.

It is not often that the City of Coronado grants authorization for permanent memorial displays. The bronze plaque was recently installed on a rock at South Beach, just in front of the parking lot of Coronado Shores public beach, the beach that many are now calling Stan’s Beach. Before the unveiling, those present heard words from the president of the Coronado Surfing Association, Coronado’s Mayor Bailey (in a suit and shoeless as he said Stan would have wanted) and most importantly, Stan’s beloved wife Jan, mother to their twin sons, the youngest of Stan’s six children (Hank, Oskar, Jake, Josh, Clark, and Bentley).

The community heard from Jan publicly for the first time since his passing as she shared words of wisdom she learned from Stan as well as a story about how they met and what happened on their second date, which speaks volumes as to the man he was; it’s no wonder he earned the third date.

Stan had been president of the Coronado Surfing Association (CSA), a nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote a passion for surfing and the ocean environment through community events, sponsoring competitive surfing, and awarding scholarships to deserving student surfer-athletes. For nearly fifteen years he also coached the Coronado middle school and high school surf teams. While teaching these youth surfers everything there was to know about competing, Stan’s main goal was always to help kids build confidence and strength while learning the how to incorporate their love of the ocean and environment so as to make a positive impact. Stan definitely succeeded in that.

The beautiful plaque was made possible because of the efforts of so many, including:

  • Jody Esquer – plaque designer
  • Mike Jacobs-Bonnet – plaque installation
  • Lisa Thompson – managed the GoFundMe page enabling the donations
  • Countless donors, many present at the beach – plaque funding
  • City of Coronado – plaque installation guidelines & approval
  • Coronado Surfing Association (CSA) –  coordinating the dedication event

In the words of Mayor Bailey, “We are fortunate to live in a community with so many wonderful people that give of their time and resources, spreading positivity and love wherever they go – but none more so than Stan. We all miss him, we always will, but this plaque will continue to inspire us all to forever, live like Stan.”

As I walked back to my car through the parking lot, just as I had seen on hats on the beach, there were multiple signs as a reminder for us all to “Live Like Stan.”


Chris Kelly
Chris Kelly
Chris is a native San Diegan who has had business ties to Coronado from when the bridge still had a toll. She vowed to herself one day she would make the island her home. Chris has been an entrepreneur for over two decades as a business owner and business/life strategist and coach. Her work has been seen in magazines, blogs, The Seattle Times and The Huffington Post.Have news to share? Send tips, story ideas or letters to the editor to: [email protected]

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