It is with sadness that we acknowledge the passing of Raymond L. Watson on October 20, 2012. As an architect and planner, he was one of the most influential designers of the City of Irvine. In his numerous positions at The Irvine Company, he spent over 40 years shaping Irvine’s infrastructure and its open space. As a community supporter and advocate of education, Watson was a generous supporter of the UCI Libraries and of UC Irvine. Many here at UC Irvine had the opportunity to meet Mr. Watson; some were even close friends. We in the Special Collections & Archives are so thankful for his support and consider him a friend, even those of us who never had the chance to meet him and hear his great stories. Beyond financial support of the UC Irvine Libraries, Watson also donated his archives to the Special Collections & Archives. His archives document his professional life, but also gives you insight into his personality and his influence on others. If you read Watson’s writings you get a sense of who he was and what he cared about. If you read his correspondence, you realize how respected and beloved he was. And if you explore his archives, you understand that he loved his work and loved Orange County.
Here’s a letter to Watson from Austrian-American architect Richard J. Neutra (1892-1970) who knew Watson from UC Berkeley. I think both respect and affection are felt through his letter.
This letter is from Morris M. Doyle who at the time (1977) served as Chair of the Board of Directors for the James Irvine Foundation. Here too, respect for Watson’s quality of service to The Irvine Company and genuine affection for him as a person comes through in the letter.
We in the Special Collections & Archives also want to show our respect and affection for a life-well-lived, the life of Raymond L. Watson.