The stretch of beach just north of Newport Pier was eerily quiet Saturday morning as dozens paddled out in the memory of Joseph “Pepe” Anthony Tena. The beloved 60-year-old Newport Beach resident, businessman and entrepreneur was killed in a helicopter crash Tuesday when a Robinson R44 copter with Tena and three others onboard smashed into a home in the Bayview Terrace Community of Newport Beach.
Kimberly Lynne Watzman, 45, of Santa Monica and Brian Rechelt, 56 of Hollywood, FL also lost their lives in the devastating accident. A fourth passenger is seriously injured and remains in the hospital.
Tena, born June 13, 1957 in Huelva, Spain, came to Southern California in 1975 to attend Pepperdine University. He raised his four daughters in the Golden State and according to his family, enjoyed playing soccer, boating, music and dancing.
He was the chief executive officer of Ferrado Group USA, a real estate investment firm with an office in Newport Beach. Ferrado Group is well known throughout the lodging industry, with holdings that include the Standard hotels in New York, Los Angeles and Miami. In 2010, Ferrado Group invested $9 million to renovate a hotel in Palo Alto, Calif.
In addition to the hospitality industry, Tena was also interested in tech. December 2016 saw the businessman backing a new app called “Livby,” marketed as a cross between the Home Shopping Network and Periscope.
Coincidentally, Tena was also part owner of Revolution Aviation, a flight school and touring company based out of John Wayne Airport that leased the R44 copter Tena rode in before the fatal crash.
“Truly a bon vivant,” his family wrote in a statement about their fallen patriarch. “He left this life as he lived it, enjoying it to its fullest and not taking any moment for granted.”