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Dick Thurnau Park: A living legacy to a lifetime of service to his community

Summary

County Council unanimously adopts renaming of Lakewood Park

Story

Dick Thurnau was an activist, amateur historian and a recognizable face in the White Center community. He used his love of history to help in the restoration of the name of the lake near his home. Today, the Metropolitan King County Council gave its unanimous support to rename King County’s Lakewood Park to Dick Thurnau Memorial Park in recognition of his life of service to the White Center Community and this park in particular.

“The legacy that Dick left for White Center is in the vibrancy of this park, a welcoming and invaluable neighborhood resource,” said Council Vice Chair Joe McDermott, the sponsor of the legislation. “I am glad to work with the community to honor Dick’s dedication to the community.”

In 1948, newlywed Dick Thurnau and wife Helen purchased their home in the White Center community, next to Lakewood Park. Even though Thurnau moved from the neighborhood to work for Mack Trucks, he kept his home near the Park.

When he retired from Mack Trucks, Thurnau returned to his home and became a strong advocate for the neighborhoods that make up White Center. He led efforts to reduce storm water runoff into Lake Hicks, the lake within Lakewood Park, and the restoration of the park, which had become the home of a disc golf course.

In his efforts to help keep Lake Hicks clean, Thurnau discovered that the lake was originally named after Leonard Hicklin, one of the early settlers of the area that is today White Center. Thurnau worked to have the Hicklin name restored and was rewarded for his effort in 2011 when he received a letter from the United States Board on Geographic Names stating that they had approved his proposal in renaming Lake Hicks to Lake Hicklin.

In recognition to his devotion to the White Center Community, a number of neighborhood groups recommended the renaming of the Lakewood Park in memory of Thurnau.

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