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Parks Perspectives: Margaret Kirner Park
Two playground sets, a group of swings, a picnic table and a few shady trees make Margaret Kirner Park a perfect play-break spot. The park is situated in the residential area at the corner of South Fourth Avenue and West Pine Street.
In 1975 the Sequim City Council appropriately named the two lots donated by John Kirner for the use of a city park “John Kirner Park,” but by 1994 John Kirner requested the park’s name be changed to “Margaret Kirner Park” in remembrance of his wife, according to Sequim City Council Resolution 77.
Margaret Willison and John Kirner were married in 1937. The couple remained together for 57 years before Margaret died from cancer, less than a year after their only child Donald Kirner died from a heart attack in 1993.
Following the loss of his wife and son, Kirner continued on to live a long life farming trees, operating heavy equipment and even remarried at age 94.
A long life
John Kirner was as local as they get and is considered a Sequim pioneer. Born in a farmhouse in 1904 off Palo Alto Road, Kirner attended the University of Washington and paid his way through school from money he made logging. While attending college Kirner also pitched on the University of Washington’s baseball team and later his love for baseball inspired him to build a baseball diamond on his own property up Palo Alto Road, according to a 2007 news article.
Kirner graduated in 1930 from the University of Washington with a degree in accounting and minor in economics. Post-college he joined the Army Transport Service during the early 1940s, but was determined to return to his hometown after World War II and work in the woods again.
Returning to his roots Kirner bought 80 acres off Palo Alto Road in 1948 and later bought an additional 80 acres where he continued to work in the Olympic Peninsula forests and refocus his attention to tree farming.
Throughout the years of living in Sequim Kirner also became involved with the Sequim City Council, the Clallam County Board of Commissioners and Sequim School Board. In recognition of his ongoing community involvement Kirner was honored with multiple awards, including Red Cross Real Hero award, according to a 2007 news article.
It wasn’t until the last three years of Kirner’s life that he strayed from the area and wintered in Arizona. Upon Kirner’s return to Sequim in 2007 after he and his wife had spent the winter away, Kirner was selected by the Sequim Irrigation Festival Committee to be 2007 Grand Marshal because of his significant community contributions. This was Kirner’s second time participating as a pivotal part of the Irrigation Festival Grand Parade, as he had been an Irrigation Festival Grand Pioneer in 1983.
Shortly following his participation in the Irrigation Festival, Kirner died at his home in Dungeness in June 2007 at the age of 102.
The two lots Kirner donated to the City of Sequim still remain however, and although the park is just under a half an acre, it continues to be a place in the midst of town for citizens to relax, have a picnic or where youths can play.
Planning for parks
In preparation for the Parks Master Plan Update a public workshop is scheduled to engage public opinion regarding Sequim city parks. The all-day visual workshop will provide work stations with aerial photos and pictures of each park for participants to visualize the setting, opportunity to rate the physical condition of the parks, give input on recreational needs or amenities and what programs they would like to see offered. “The visioning process provides the Sequim community with an opportunity to have meaningful input while becoming encouraged in the planning process,” City of Sequim special project manager Joe Irvin said.
The information gathered at the workshop will be used to help shape the recommendations proposed as part of the Parks Master Plan Update, Irvin explained.
Event: Park Master Plan public visual workshop
When: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. May 21.
Where: Pioneer Memorial Park, 387 E. Washington St.
Cost: No cost. Light refreshments and snacks will be provided.
More info: Special projects manager Joe Irvin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 582-2457.
Joan Worley contributed to this report.
Reach Alana Linderoth at email@example.com.