John Michaelsen opened his eyes for the first time on April Fools’ Day 1942 and grew up in Old Greenwich, Conn. He graduated from Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Va., in 1964 and completed an MBA from Columbia University in New York City in 1966.
Shortly thereafter, he entered the Navy’s OCS program and was sent to San Diego for destroyer duty. His deployment was in the Tonkin Gulf of Vietnam. In February 1970, he was discharged from active duty as lieutenant, USNR, and decided that San Diego looked like a great place to put down some roots.
Michaelsen met his wife, Christine, on the beach in South Mission and got married in September 1970. They started a family in 1972. One of the highlights of Michaelsen’s family time was coaching softball for all three of his daughters from 1980 to about 1992.
In 1976, he started Capital Growth Properties, a real estate brokerage, management and development company, which he continues to operate today.
Michaelsen has been actively involved in the community throughout the years: He’s been president of the Foundation of LJHS, chairman of the La Jolla YMCA and currently is on the board of trustees of the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association and board of the La Jolla Country Club.
What brought you to La Jolla?We moved to La Jolla in 1973 to provide a good environment to raise our children.
What makes La Jolla special to you?La Jolla is a beautiful place on the ocean with a strong sense of community.
If you could snap your fingers and have it done, what might you add, subtract or improve in La Jolla?Make La Jolla its own city.
Who or what inspires you?Jim Gianulis, a friend who is physically handicapped but has the most positive attitude on every aspect of life.
Who would you invite for dinner?Mickey Mantle, Jonathan Winters, George Washington, Robert E. Lee, Ronald Reagan, Bob Newhart, Abraham Lincoln and Edward Michaelsen (my father).
What are you currently reading?“The Horse Soldiers,” the story of the U.S. response in Afghanistan after 9/11.
What is your most prized possession?I’m not too big on things, but stretching the definition of “possessions,” I would say my family’s good health is my most prized possession.
What do you do for fun?Golf, tennis and vacation with my family.
Please describe your greatest accomplishment.The startup and continued operation of my own business.
What is your motto or philosophy of life?I try to remember to say every day: “This is going to be the best day of my life!”