Coastside author June Morrall, 1947 - 2010

By on Tue, January 5, 2010

Deb Wong
June Morrall and Burt Blumert

June Morrall, Coastside author and historian is dead at the age of 62. June was a resident of El Granada.

June had published three books, "Half Moon Bay Memories: The Coastside’s Colorful Past" and "The Coburn Mystery", an historical account of murder and mayhem in Pescadero, and "Princeton-by-the-Sea", a history of the community. June had just finished her fourth book, on the history of Moss Beach, which is to be published by Arcadia Publishing in April.

June also wrote about Coastside history on her websites Half Moon Bay Memories, Pescadero Memories, and Princeton-by-the-Sea Memories, where she wrote "June Morrall has lived on the Coastside for almost 40 years. According to those in the know, it will take another ten years before she will be considered an authentic ‘local.’"

June wrote and produced The Mystery of Half Moon Bay [free download at], a one-hour historical documentary for KCSM-TV.

In the early 1980s, June worked in Time Magazine’s San Francisco bureau—initially as an office manager/photo editor, later as a stringer. She was also a stringer for Newsweek. She wrote "Other Times", a historical column for the San Mateo County Times.

During World War II, June’s family fled Berlin for Shanghai where they lived for nine years.

June can be seen in this video from KCBS explaining the history of Pillar Point [at about 1:30].

June lived with Burt Blumert died March 30, 2009.

The San Mateo County Coroner has not confirmed the date of death, but a relative reported finding her body on Monday.

I really only got to know June well last year, and I’m still in shock. She came to our holiday party and we exchanged New Year’s messages, she’s fresh in my memory.

After Burt’s death, she invited us to a wonderful service in her home. It was the kind of event that made us glad to be alive, rather than sorrowful at a loss. Now is a good time to remember that.

I wish I knew her better.

I too just got to know June over this past year, and her passing is a real loss to the coastside.  She was passionate about the coast and her blog was a time capsule of it’s people and events.  She was a gentle, lovely lady who always saw the best in others.  She will be greatly missed.

Comment 3
Tue, January 5, 2010 2:24pm
Deb Wong
All my comments

June was a good friend. We had gotten especially close in the past two years when doing photography for her book on Moss Beach.  She visited us at the gallery quite often, and we visited her at her home, with the garden sanctuary she was so proud of.

June’s husband Burt referred my husband Michael to Ron Paul for a photo shoot with him, then Michael did photography for another of June’s books. I got to do at least half of the photos for the upcoming book on Moss Beach - I shot them all for June.  She really, really appreciated our work, and was a class act, all the way around.

I also have many emails from her, and still can’t believe she is no longer with us. June left the world a better place for having been here, contributing a wealth of stories and local information for generations to come.

Shock! I enjoyed pinging June about what historical facts she knew along the Coast Road. RIP June.

I never met June Morall, but her books and her blog have fed my interest in coastside history and people. I almost felt I knew her from her writing. She will be missed.

June’s documentary The Mystery of Half Moon Bay (made in 1980-81) should be required viewing for anybody who lives on the Coastside. Her talents and understanding of this area are nowhere more clearly illustrated than in that amazing video.

I met June in 1974 and we spent time together frequently over the next 6 years. She was a very good friend. I hadn’t seen her in at least 10 years when I saw her at Barry and Cheri’s holiday party in 2008. We had a great conversation.

I saw her again on December 19 during this year’s celebration at the Parrs’ house. She invited me to visit her and I did. She showed me around her beautiful yard, introduced me to her cat and wished me success in my race for supervisor, offering to host a garden party for me in the spring.

The friendly, supportive email she sent the next day is still in my inbox. She said she was ready to start working again and wished me all the best. I’m glad I responded right away.

Very saddened to read of June’s passing. I’d just sent her a copy of some more Ocean Shore Railroad material I’d sent to John Vonderlin.
My condolences to the staff at the Coastsider.
I am sure all will miss her.  Angelo Misthos

I have known June since high school.  I also lost my husband last year and we had been e-mailing almost every day.  I was worried when I didn’t hear from her and went looking on-line and found this.  She had been very depressed over Burt’s passing.  I now live in Oregon and do not have access to Bay Area news.  If anyone knows what happened to her please contact me (541) 412-9211.  Thank you, Katie Dryden

In response to Katie Dryden’s post, I, too, have known June most of my life. We even shared the same birthday. We started off in kindergarten together and continued our friendship throughout our adult life. In the last 20 years, we emailed almost daily, sometimes 5-10 times a day, since we did not live close.  When I didn’t hear from her or see any postings on, I got a sick feeling.  My worst nightmare came true when I found this article.  I am saddened and sick that June is gone.  Yes, she was depressed and had her ups and downs, but she was so thrilled that she took the trip to New Zealand and in one of her last emails to me she said she thought she was “on the way back.”  To everyone who new June, remember her as the beautiful, talented person that she was.  To her cousins, I am truly sorry for your loss.  I know she loved you all dearly as she spoke of you quite often this past year.  To June, may you rest in peace my deal friend and be reunited with your dear Burt.

Will there be a memorial service for June?  I am sure many people would like to pay their respects.

Comment 12
Fri, January 8, 2010 1:00pm
Deb Wong
All my comments

June’s cousin will let us know when services will be held, and I will post that information here when I get it.

Wow, It really was not like June not to return emails. I kidded her in my last message that I thought she liked New Zealand so well that she went right back to the airport. She did wonderful work in saving and preserving the history of the Coastside. My wife and I feel sorry and sad and will miss her.  John and Kristina Schmale

I have known June since the early 70s, I worked on her book HMB Memories. I would go with her and she would interview and collect old stories from old coastsiders. I would photograph the old photos
at there homes. We spent about 6 months doing this.

She was a great person to work for.  When she started the book Perinceton By The Sea she call me ( I no longer lived in HMB ) and ask if I would come and help her with her new book. I told June that Michale Wong was a good photographer but she wanted me to work on this book. I said sure. 

We have have been close friends for many years, this has been a shock and very sad news for me.

I will miss June very much. Jerry Koontz

Comment 15
Mon, January 11, 2010 2:39pm
Deb Wong
All my comments

I received this from June’s cousin today:

Dear Friends of June Morrall,

I’m writing to inform you of the Memorial Gathering for June, which will be held this Sunday, January 17th, at the Oceano Hotel & Spa at 2 pm. This event will not so much be a formal “service” but rather an informal “gathering” to commemorate June’s work and legacy on the Coastside, and we invite all those interested in attending to bring something that they may have to share, whether it’d be pictures, articles, books or a story to tell—so that they can be on display or told to those who will be attending. Food and refreshments will be served.

We look forward to seeing you all there.  Please pass the word on to anyone you know who would be interested in commemorating June, and feel free to email or call me with any questions.


Matthew Korn

I started writing June in October of 2007 and she was kind enough to print a few of my stories and quips. I was shocked by her passing.I will spend a few days on the Coast in early March, and had planned on meeting her,now I will be totality lost for my daily"Coastside Fix” from her three web sites.finding this paper wii help some.I was born in Eureka,and when I returned to the Coastside in the late 60’s I knew I was back
Home,June was my contact with Home.She and her work will be missed
Gray Gardner
Excelsior Springs,Mo

So sorry to hear of June’s passing! I was emailing her to see if she had the Chamarita Beef recipe I had just found and to congratulate her on her most recent Arcadia Press book and Googled for the book’s name when I came up with this article.
June was such a great resource of all things Coastal (as in “The Coast”) and will be sorely missed. Her energy and drive to post stories and photos on Coastal life will be hard to match. So many great tales of the life I remember while growing up in El Granada. June’s shoes will remain empty, impossible to refill. Via con Dios, June! You deserve a rest.