Two Newport Beach lifeguards who died last month will be remembered at separate services this weekend. Buddy Gene Belshe, who retired as a Newport Beach lifeguard captain in 2010, died Dec. 19. He was 78.
Belshe’s career as a lifeguard spanned six decades that included stints in Huntington Beach and Newport Beach, at San Clemente’s Ole Hanson pool and the Blue Buoy Swim School in Tustin, according to Newport Beach Public Information Manager Tara Finnigan.
For the last 19 years of his 47-year career with Newport Beach, Belshe was a fixture at Big Corona beach, Finnigan said.
Belshe was an exceptional swimmer who finished ninth in the men’s 1,500-meter freestyle at the 1956 U.S. Olympic swim trials, Finnigan said. He also started the Newport Pier-to-Pier 2 Mile Ocean Swim in 1976.
Belshe’s memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m., Saturday, at Big Corona Beach.
On Sunday, a service will be held for lifeguard Brian Edward Gray, who died Dec. 22. He was 38.
Gray was a junior lifeguard and became a cadet lifeguard in 1990, graduating to Newport Beach lifeguard the next year, Finnigan said. Gray was considered the resident expert on surf forecasting for the beach, Finnigan said.
Gray’s service will be at 17th Street on the Balboa Peninsula.