Thursday, May 21, 2009

'Bill loves Marla and Marla loves Bill'

That's what it says on a bench that has just been installed in Huddart Park in San Mateo County at the request of Bill Workman, a retired Chronicle reporter who covered the Peninsula for years.

A party is planned on Sunday to celebrate the new bench. Though Bill is now in a wheelchair and won't be able to hike to the bench in Huddart Park, his wife Marla says in this op-ed in The Almanac that park rangers have agreed to drive him down the trail to see the bench. (That's Bill and Marla in a photo taken at a 2002 Press Club awards banquet.)

She says Bill suggested the bench, with the sign "Bill loves Marla and Marla loves Bill, when the couple's lawyer asked what he wanted to include in his trust.
    We contacted San Mateo County Parks to see how we might make the bench a reality and found that we could get a bench put in for $3,200. Well, we couldn't afford it, not with all the medical expenses and the horrendous cost of caring for Bill who is in an assisted living home.

    We thought that was that, but then I had an idea. Why not ask for help?

    So, we asked our friends and family to chip in to help pay for the bench. People from all over the world donated — from Greece, Germany, Austria, Canada — and from across the country — Illinois, Minnesota, Massachusetts, New York, California, Arizona, Kansas, Tennessee, Florida.

    Even San Mateo County Supervisor Rose Jacobs Gibson and Dr. Martha Kanter, chancellor of Foothill-De Anza Community College who has been nominated for Under Secretary of Education, contributed. Through the generosity of so many good people, we raised enough money, and now the bench is a reality.
The party is set for Sunday, May 24, at 1:30 p.m. at the Kings Mountain Fire Station on Skyline Drive. Marla, a professor of mass communication and cultural studies at Menlo College, says, "We wanted to share our love with the community and give back by providing hikers with a place to sit and enjoy the splendor of San Mateo County's redwoods. We encourage all to support their parks and bask in the beauty of love and nature."


Duane Sandul said...

Congratulations to Bill and Marla. I worked in the press room in Redwood City with Bill until 1985. One of the greatest story tellers of all time! Duane Sandul

Anonymous said...

Bill's a class act. His profiles (Along the Camino) were first rate. Introduced readers to a lot of interesting people. Too bad local papers don't have a feature like that today!