CARLSBAD — Three fixtures in the Carlsbad community — Mayor Claude “Bud” Lewis, his wife Bev and volunteer Doris Lee Ritchie — were honored as Citizens of the Year for 2009 at a ceremony Oct. 5.
Friends and family packed the council chambers as the trio received the honor, which is awarded to “people in Carlsbad that have uniquely enriched the city,” Steve Tague, a member of the Citizens of the Year Committee, said.
Doris Lee Ritchie was recognized for her decades-long dedication to a number of charitable and civic causes within Carlsbad. She has a doctorate in adult education and specializes in voluntarism, Mayor Pro Tem Ann Kulchin said.
A permanent resident since 1983, Ritchie is a 22-year member of the Hi-Noon Rotary; a founding member of the Carlsbad Foundation and Carillo Ranch Foundation; and on the board of directors for Hospice of North Coast, Kulchin said.
“She’s listed in the Who’s Who of American Women and if we had such a book, she would certainly be included in the Who’s Who of Carlsbad,” Kulchin, a longtime friend of Ritchie, said.
Ritchie also served 10 years with the Housing Commission and six years with the Senior Commission, where she participated in the design of the Senior Center on the Architectural Design Committee.
“This is awesome — I think I’ve just won the Oscar,” Ritchie said upon receiving her Citizen of the Year plaque. “This is a peak moment in my life.”
The Lewises were also honored at the ceremony.
Longtime Mayor Lewis, with the support of his wife, has played an active role in Carlsbad for more than 40 years in several different capacities, including high school teacher, football coach, councilman and lastly, mayor, Tague said.
Lewis ran for council on a dare from his civics class and was elected as councilman in 1970. He has been mayor since 1986 and will retire this December at the end of his current term.
“Mayor Lewis’ grade — because of his background in education — for being our mayor would be an A plus,” Tague said.
During his tenure, Lewis has boosted funding for Carlsbad’s open spaces through developer fees and most recently, secured a drought-resistant water supply with a desalination plant through a partnership with Poseidon Resources.
“This was a unanimous vote by our committee,” Tague said of selecting Lewis and his wife. “We knew it was long overdue, but it was at the right time.”
Although Citizen of the Year committee member Knox Williams said Lewis originally objected to his nomination, the mayor was clearly touched by the outpouring of support shown for him and his wife, who was unable to attend due to her health.
“As you know, it takes a total team to make things work,” Lewis said. He credits his wife as his rock throughout his many careers. “I’m overwhelmed by this.”
The Citizen of the Year program is more than 40 years old and is a chance to celebrate outstanding residents in the Carlsbad community. Citizen of the Year committee members Steve Tague, Knox Williams, Peggy Savary and Pat Kurth selected this year’s award recipients.