Erwin Potts Dies

Last month, one of Pedregal’s original residents, Erwin Potts, died at his home on Pedregal Beach. Erwin was 85 years old.

If you ever walked the beach in the mornings, you probably got a wave and a “Hello” from Erwin as he sat on his deck drinking his morning coffee watching the ocean roll in and out.  Or, at Hump Nights on the beach, you might have shared a Meyers rum and Coke with Erwin – especially on those eves when Silvia was out of town.

erwin.JPGIf you play golf, there is a good chance you played with, and were razzed by, Erwin on the golf course.  Always an excellent athlete in all sports, he could rattle the best of them on the golf course. He appreciated a good player and enjoyed being around excellence in all things.

The Potts home was the first house built on Pedregal Beach – probably 20+ years ago. We recall him telling us of their first driving trips up and down Baja – and how Baja has changed since then. 

But what Erwin loved about Baja remains true today. Almost always the last seasonal resident to leave and the first to arrive, Erwin was generally here by early November and thought the rest of us were absolutely crazy to leave before July.

His professional legacy is well documented and much acclaimed as a journalist, as well as his success as a business manager for the McClatchy Newspaper chain. What he gave to those of us fortunate enough to know him was his wisdom, southern charm, a gift with words, a very sharp mind, sense of humor, and the ability to tell you you were absolutely crazy in such a nice way that you took it as a compliment. 

The best thing about Erwin was the honor of his friendship. We have lost a great neighbor and will feel his absence next season, and for many seasons to come.

By Sue Murphy


Potts spent his early career as a newspaper reporter and editor and eventually became the first non-family member to lead McClatchy Newspapers as it grew into a national media company. He joined Sacramento-based McClatchy in 1975 as director of newspaper operations and retired in 1996 as chairman of the board of directors. Potts is responsible for expanding McClatchy from a group of largely California-based newspapers to one of the nation’s major newspaper companies.

He earned a degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, beginning his newspaper career in 1954 at the Charlotte News in North Carolina before serving in the U.S. Marine Corps for three years.

Potts also served on the boards of a number of professional and community organizations. Larry Jinks, former publisher of the San Jose Mercury News, served on McClatchy’s board of directors.

Potts is survived by his wife, Silvia, of El Dorado Hills, California; sons Jeffrey Potts of Folsom and Matthew Potts of Santa Cruz; and four grandchildren. He was preceded in death by his son Bryan.

 “He was old school,” Jeffrey Potts said. “He raised us in a way that many people aren’t raised today. He held us accountable for our actions.”

Services were held in Sacramento, where more than 300 people mourned the loss of Erwin Potts, an American original.

By Sacramento Bee