On the Mayor’s Mind: Farewell to Dick Deal

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Shari Winstead
Mayor of Shoreline
On the Mayor’s Mind
Farewell to Dick Deal,
Parks Director Extraordinaire 

This week we will say farewell to our Parks Director, Dick Deal, as he sets off for his second crack at retirement. Dick has spent the last 11-1/2 years with the City of Shoreline.

Dick’s first retirement was from the City of Auburn in 2003, after 32 years of service, most of it as their Parks Director. When Shoreline was looking for an interim Parks Director, he agreed to help out for “several months”. Eleven and a half years later, Dick's “temporary assignment” is finally over.

Most don’t know that Dick lived in Auburn until just a few years ago. Anyone who had a conversation with Dick during his time at Shoreline would have assumed he was a Shoreline resident. His passion about our parks was obvious. It had to be to bear the commute to and from Auburn, often after community meetings that didn’t end until 9 or 10pm.

Dick is a great example of the kind of dedicated, committed staff the City of Shoreline is so fortunate to have. They have a special sense of commitment and caring for the community, regardless of where they actually reside.

To say that Dick has played an integral role in the City over the past 11 1/2 years is a huge understatement.

Shoreline has the best Park, Recreation and Cultural Services system around because of Dick’s influence, vision, knowledge and understanding of how to transform a worn-out, “loved to death” and neglected park system into a phenomenal park system. Our parks have become community gathering spots where people (and dogs!) of all ages, can play, exercise, relax, listen to a concert or just enjoy nature.

Dick Deal, Director of Parks,
Recreation, and Cultural Services
My personal interaction with Dick began in 2004, when I was on the Board of Richmond Little League. I made a call to the Parks Director to see if he could help arrange for someone to throw the first pitch of our opening season. While it seemed unfortunate that none of the elected officials were available, Dick saved the day by stepping up to the plate- no surprise there.

In 2006 I agreed to serve as the co-chair of the Parks Bond Campaign. Up until that point, I had not been involved in any type of campaign or really, anything political. I only volunteered because I knew that it was a great cause, and would make Shoreline an even better city. And I knew that Dick would be our advisor. He also turned out to be our greatest asset, not only because of his knowledge of parks and park bonds, but because of the way he can work with the community. Dick listened to people, and they listened to him. We all learned, and we all won.

The Parks bond campaign was a three month dash to the finish line. The committee, with Dick’s guidance, put together an amazing list of projects that the voters just couldn’t say no to - and of course they didn’t. The bond passed with a yes vote of over 72%. That’s when the real work began, all of which Dick has seen to the end.

So when you come to Cromwell Park for “Celebrate Shoreline”, enjoy the Terrace at Saltwater Park, explore Kruckeberg Botanical Garden, throw a ball for your dog at one of our off-leash areas, a ball for your kid at the revamped baseball fields at Hamlin, or walk the trails at Hamlin Park, you can thank Shoreline residents for approving the parks bond, and Dick Deal for his leadership. 
But he did more than take on the parks bond projects. He also helped create a great public art program, including the artistically enhanced, iconic bridges over Aurora, Piano Time and our Sculpture Strolls. And our gardeners love the community gardens at Twin Ponds and Sunset.

While every department in the City is important, I think the Parks Department has more human touches than most. Shoreline has been very fortunate to have a very human Parks Director, not just a leader, but one of the most sincere, kind, patient and humble human beings you will ever meet. It has been my pleasure to hear so many great “Dick Deal” stories over the years, and to have had the opportunity to work so closely with Dick and the Parks Department. 

Dick is leaving us a gift that we will continue to enjoy for many, many years. Lucky us!

If you’d like to come say farewell to Dick, there will be a public reception at City Hall tonight (Monday, 1/26/15), from 5:45-6:45 p.m. If you can’t make it, you can send him an email at ddeal@shorelinewa.gov (but only until Friday!)


Anonymous,  January 26, 2015 at 4:35 AM  

A well-written tribute and good use of this column.

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