Society Leadership

Director – Larry Culbertson (President)

  • Larry was born in Torrance, California in 1945. His family soon moved to Long Beach, California
    where he spent the first thirty years of his life. As a Boy Scout, he earned the God and Country
    Award and became an Eagle Scout in 1959 .At Jordan High School he was active in sports including
    swimming, water polo, and gymnastics. Academically, he gravitated toward math and science. At Long
    Beach State College he took a Bachelor of Science degree in Microbiology. His professional career
    began in 1970 when he began working at Torrance Memorial Hospital as a Medical Technologist. In 1975
    he moved to South Orange County, working at South Coast Medical Center. That same year he started a
    second career as a property investor, buying and rehabilitating multi-family residential properties.
  • An early interest in historical preservation and Spanish Colonial Revival architecture was stoked by
    frequent outings to Rancho Los Alamitos, Rancho Cerritos, and many SCR buildings in Long Beach and
    Los Angeles.
  • In 1978 Larry married Jaine Copthorne and they settled in San Juan Capistrano. There they raised two
    children, Rebecca and Steven. Larry was active as a volunteer in Scouting, homeowners association,
    and other civic organizations.
  • In 2005, Jaine and Larry decided to move to San Clemente. His longtime interest in history, historical
    preservation, Spanish Colonial Revival Architecture, and volunteerism led him naturally to become
    involved with the Historical Society and Casa Romantica. He serves as a docent at the Casa Romantica.
    For the Historical Society he serves as Community Booth Chairman and Preservation Chairman.
  • Favorite quote: “Preservationists are the only people in the world who are invariably confirmed in
    their wisdom after the fact…. “ John Kenneth Galbraith
  • Favorite scripture: “Cursed be he who removes his neighbor’s landmark.” Deuteronomy 27:17

Director – Georgette Korsen (Past President)

  • Georgette, her husband and their two children, moved to beautiful San Clemente thirty years ago. They have a lifetime of memories here, and consider this to be the finest place that anyone could live. Her husband, Alan, served on the San Clemente City Council. During that same time period, she worked with then Fire Chief Ron Coleman and two local veterinarians to get San Clemente’s own animal shelter up and running, serving as its first Volunteer Coordinator. Having previously served on the Board of the Pet Responsibility Committee, a volunteer support group that staffed the Laguna Beach Animal Shelter, she was able to transfer their then innovative “pro-life” philosophy to our own budding program. It has been very gratifying for her to see the amazing “top notch” animal shelter that has evolved in San Clemente from such humble beginnings.
  • Once their children were grown, Georgette joined her husband in working at their family owned executive search firm, Aaron Jensen Associates. She served two years on the City’s Watershed Taskforce. She’s been an active participant in the environmental group, San Clemente Green, and functioned on its Green Ribbon Panel as the representative for Historic Preservation during writing of the Sustainablilty Action Plan, which will be incorporated into the City’s new General Plan.
  • The genesis of her affiliation with The Historical Society was the realization that San Clemente ‘s beautiful Spanish Colonial Revival buildings, which she had always assumed were secure gifts from our city’s amazing founder, were in danger of being demolished. It had never occurred to her that they could simply disappear in favor of denser, more “developer profitable” structures. For her, it began with the planned demolition of the Miramar Theatre.
  • Georgette enthusiastically supports the Society’s constant vigilance to preserve our city’s rich history and is a dedicated member of the Committee to Save the Miramar Theatre.

Director – Mike Cotter (Vice President)

  • His professional background includes a photographic supply business, a career in financial consulting/investment banking, and over 25 years as a real estate broker.
  • Mike’s volunteer and community work include directorships on the boards of chambers of commerce, downtown business associations, volunteer fire departments and family crisis shelters.
  • He has taught real estate syndication, made presentations before municipal treasurers’ associations, societies of finance officers, various local government agencies and service clubs, and has published over 300 real estate and financial advice columns and industry articles.
  • Mike holds a Bachelor of Science Finance degree from San Diego State University, graduating with High Honors in 1976. He is a member of the National, California, and Orange County Associations of Realtors®. He serves on the board of directors of the San Clemente Downtown Business Association.
  • As President of the Historical Society, Mike was appointed in 2005 to a 10-member task force to develop a Historic Landmarks Preservation Ordinance for the City of San Clemente.
  • Recently married to Michelle, Mike’s hobbies include guitar, photography and collecting antique camera memorabilia.

Director – Mary Ann Comes (Secretary)

  • Mary Ann has lived in San Clemente since 1986. She is retired from the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, a government agency. She specialized in real estate sales and property management. Mary Ann has volunteered for the San Clemente Historical Society for several years. She is a past president of the Historical Society. She now handles all the archives of the Historical Society. She continues to accept photos and items from the community that has historic significance for safekeeping. Most of the items at the Casa Romantica Cultural Center and Gardens are on loan from the San Clemente Historical Society. One of her duties is to move items in and out for exhibits. Mary Ann created the Community Booth for the Village Arts Fair held on Del Mar the first Sunday of the month. Look for the red umbrellas. She is a docent for the Casa Romantica and was a docent for the San Clemente Historical Society’s museum which is temporarily closed. Mary Ann was instrumental in getting the Society’s new book to print. The book is named “Images of America – San Clemente.” She sat on the Marblehead Master and Highland Light Village homeowner association boards for several years. She was secretary and treasurer for San Clemente Citizens for responsible Development for more than 10 years. This organization was instrumental in seeing that the Marblehead Coastal development downsized considerably. The canyons and wetlands were saved with SCCFRD’s help.
  • Mary Ann and husband owned a 1930 Spanish Colonial Revival home in Los Angeles for many years. She wishes she could have this home here in San Clemente. She loves to travel with her husband George. She is most interested in European history. She is interested in the medieval towns and their architecture. Because of this interest, her passion for historical properties in San Clemente go hand and hand. Mary Ann has two grown sons and three grandchildren.

Director – Karyn Philippsen

  • A native Californian and long-time resident of Orange County, Karyn’s multi-faceted career encompasses over thirty years experience in the hospitality industry with an emphasis in customer service for the luxury market. She played a major role in the success of such properties as Montage Resort & Spa, Surf & Sand Resort in Laguna Beach, and was a key player in the opening of the world class five star Ritz Carlton/Laguna Niguel. As an influential and active community leader, she has served on several non-profit boards including the acclaimed Laguna Playhouse. She currently serves in her ninth year as elected president of the Laguna Beach Visitors & Conference Bureau.
  • A veteran traveler on the international scene, Karyn’s insight into the cultural diversity of the global experience has allowed her to develop several successful team building and customer service programs. Her consulting company provides many services to businesses in the hospitality industry that benefit the luxury traveler.
  • Prior to her positions as Director of National Accounts and General Manager at lodging establishments in central Orange County and in the luxury market in the Coastal Region, Karyn served in management positions at NBC Studios and the Anaheim Orange County Visitors and Convention Bureau. Karyn earned her CMP (Certified Meeting Planner) designation in 1995, receiving the President’s Award and Supplier of the Year from MPI (Meeting Professionals International) and was acknowledged as a five time Manager of the Year, and “Leadership Visionary of Laguna Beach” in 2003.
  • Her diverse background and zest for life has led to things that others only dream of – from running rapids and feeding a wild rhino in Africa, to participation as the only female player at the NHL team Anaheim Ducks Fantasy Camp.
  • As founder of KP Company, Karyn obtained her General (B) Contractor’s License providing construction coordination and supervision and leading to selection of her most noteworthy project as a featured property on the renowned annual Laguna Beach Charm House Tour.
  • Karyn’s awareness of the importance of historical preservation was greatly heightened when Max Berg Plaza Park came under close scrutiny recently, with changes being entertained which could have compromised the historic integrity of the beloved neighborhood park. Karyn joined hands with the San Clemente Historical Society when she headed up neighborhood efforts to protect this valued historic resource.

Director – Raad Ghantous

  • Raad is an interior designer who has recently lent his time and talents to help transform the Casa Romantica into a magnificent Cultural Center here in San Clemente , but his journey began half-way around the world. His life experience and travels have given the articulate man a broad perspective of the global village.
  • Raad was born in Baghdad , Iraq , his mother was half Lebanese, a Catholic. His father, a Greek Orthodox Civil Engineer, had moved to Iraq from Haifa , Palestine with his father.
  • In 1970, Raad attended a British system high school in Kuwait . He then went on to the American College of Switzerland in Leysin and earned an undergraduate degree in economics. Next, he went on to attend the gradate school at Claremont to work on his MBA.
  • He took a job in the construction industry and uncovered a talent for the design aspect of construction, and subsequently decided to take a class in interior design. And it was three years later and he another undergraduate degree in interior design. His career took a leap when he landed a job for the number one design firm in the world for five-star hotels and resorts, the legendary, Whimberly Allison, Tong & Go, (WAT&G) who’s impressive list of clients includes everyone from the Royal Hawaiian in Waikiki to the Ritz Carlton in Laguna Niguel. He formed Raad Ghantous & Associates (www.raadg.com) in order to pursue a wider variety of clientele.
  • In the five years of living in San Clemente , Raad has been the interior designer of the Casa Romantica, serves on the Design Committee of the Downtown Business Association, serves on the Board of Directors the San Clemente Historical Society and represents them at city Design Review and Planning Committees.

Committee Chairs

  • Administration/Membership – BILL BLUETT
  • Archives – LOIS DIVEL
  • Curator – MARY ANN COMES
  • Preservation – LARRY CULBERTSON
  • Events – This position is currently OPEN.
    Anyone interested in becoming the “Events Chair” should
    contact the President, Georgette Korsen, at GKORSEN@COX.NET
  • Recording Secretary -MARY ANN COMES
  • Community Booth – LARRY & JAINE CULBERTSON
  • Beach Clean-up – LARRY CULBERTSON
  • Webmaster – JIM PROETT