A crowd of more than 50 coworkers, friends, admirers and city officials gathered Wednesday afternoon at the Edmonds Waterfront Center to bid farewell and happy retirement to Parks Manager Rich Lindsay, capping off his 51 years of unstinting service to the city and the people of Edmonds.
Attendees were welcomed by Edmonds Parks, Recreation and Human Services Director Angie Feser, who started the afternoon by officially announcing the permanent naming of a street in Lindsay’s honor and showing off one of the new street signs. Henceforth, the circle drive though Edmonds City Park will be known as Lindsay Way.
“Rich began his long career with the city in 1971 when he was only 17 years old, starting as a park seasonal worker,” Feser explained. “He then was hired full time as a parks maintenance worker, advanced to a senior maintenance worker, promoted into the maintenance lead position and then ultimately, in 2001, to his last position of parks manager.”
“Rich Lindsay is a true legend,” remarked Mayor Mike Nelson. “As the creative, caring force behind projects ranging from the dive park to the dog park, he has led hundreds of volunteer efforts and been at the center of taking plans for an incredible array of parks projects and improvements from the drawing board to reality.
“Every tree – and even every squirrel – in our parks has literally been touched by his love, his caring and his concern,” the mayor continued. “His impact will be felt for generations.”
Nelson went on to describe another very special and not-so-well-known contribution to the community good made by Rich and his late wife Lana. For many years the couple collected all the children’s letters to Santa deposited in the red mailbox in front of the downtown log cabin, and together wrote personal responses to each and every one. These weren’t form letters; they were hand-written, individual unique responses. (“It was fun to do!” chimed in Rich from the back of the room.)
“And in recognition of this I want to add another honor on top of the street naming,” Nelson concluded. “I hereby decree that our annual civic tree-lighting ceremony will now and henceforth be officially known as Rich Lindsay Day.”
Nelson’s remarks were followed by a heartfelt tribute from 24-year parks employee Jesse Curran, who is assuming Lindsay’s duties as acting parks manager.
“Rich is amazing,” Curran began. “His service, dedication, tireless commitment and 60-hour work weeks are legendary.”
Recalling crises ranging from the 1996 heavy snow that collapsed the Edmonds Marina, to downtown building fires, to damage from severe rains and flooding, he stressed how Lindsay was always there.
“Whenever we had a crisis, he would shine,” recalled Curran.
Former Edmonds Parks and Recreation Director Carrie Hite joined in the praise.
“Rich is a legend in his own right,” she said. “It’s not every day we get to celebrate someone as special as this.
“And I’m also pleased to be able to congratulate Rich on yet another honor,” she added. “Rich recently received the Ron C. Davis Award from the Washington Recreation and Parks Association in recognition of his unwavering commitment, leadership, passion and contributions to the profession. This award is meant to honor those unsung heroes who work tirelessly with steadfast grace and passion to make a difference in people’s lives, often without being in the spotlight or receiving significant acknowledgment,” Hite said.
The microphone was then opened to those who wished to add their words in honor of Lindsay. City Councilmember Diane Buckshnis, Willow Creek Fish Hatchery Manager Walt Thompson, past Floretum Garden Club President Tia Scarce, and past Parks and Recreation Director (2004-2010) Brian McIntosh all came forward to offer their comments and best wishes to Rich.
The final remarks were reserved for Lindsay himself.
“I so appreciate everyone being here today to celebrate my 51 years with the city,” he began. “I’m often asked why I didn’t retire sooner. The simple answer is that I just love my job so much. But I couldn’t have done it without help from city officials, the city council and especially the fantastic team at parks and recreation. You’re wonderful people. You made my job a joy. Thanks for being here.”
— Story and photos by Larry Vogel
Rich, congrats on your retirement! It was nice to work with you! Thank you for all you’ve done for Edmonds!!
Congratulations Rich. Well done. You have been a blessing to so many . . . Now, enjoy the rising and setting of each God given day. See you around our beautiful Edmonds. Gary & Jackie Ayers
Rich, Lindsey, you are the legend. There will never be another like you. I spent 32 years with you and never saw you having a bad day. I looked up to you from the day I started with the city. Thank you for your tireless service.
Well done! Actually, very well done.
Congratulations! It was always a pleasure to interact with you on the few times I took photos on your park/beach cleanup days. May you find lots of joy in your well deserved retirement.
A royal send off for our city’s treasure! Thank you aRich! You are a gem!
An amazing accomplishment Rich. Now enjoy your city and all that you have contributed to make it the wonderful place it is for everyone who visits and lives in Edmonds. Congrats !!
Thank you for your outstanding service!
CONGRATULATIONS on your extremely well deserved and richly earned retirement after 51 years of OUTSTANDING community service and commitment to excellence. During the entire concept /planning stages and construction of the Edmonds Veterans Plaza(EVP), you were always there when needed and have continued to effectively support that meaningful community facility honoring. all Veterans. Thank YOU!
EVP Leadership Team – Ron Clyborne-Jim Traner- Bob Rinehart -Maria Montalvo
Edmonds VFW & American Legion Posts
Edmonds Floretum Garden Club has great memories of the work parties in downtown Edmonds and planting the hanging baskets in City Park. We remember Rich providing the plants and orange vests to keep us safe. Afterwards he provided treats at City Hall for all the workers.
How great to have such a sendoff after his fifty plus years of service to the city.
The signs are an appropriate memorial
Always upbeat and appreciative Rich was a pleasure to work with.
THANK YOU, RICH
Congratulations Rich. The Edmonds Lions Club appreciate your years of direction with Sierra Park for the Blind. It was a project that we enjoyed and are going to continue with. Also, your help with setting up tables for the children’s book give away the night of the outdoors movie. It was such a successful project. I could go on and on, but just want to wish you the best and hope to see you around Edmonds.
Judy and Jim Forgey
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