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Friends hold farewell roast for Dick Wulf

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By Stephen Knapp

On the evening of Feb. 5, a small group of friends and supporters gathered at the Evergreen Recreation Center to bid a fond farewell to semi-retired EPRD director Dick Wulf.

Make that a large group. The center’s multipurpose room was filled to capacity with district employees, former EPRD board members and dozens of others who merely wanted to lend their presence to what turned out to be a very enjoyable event.

On one wall, EPRD employees Carol Bain and Sharin Martin had arranged Wulf’s life in pictures — photographs and newspaper clippings detailing a remarkable 35-year career. A substantial snack buffet had been arranged near the door, although why anyone would choose a celery stick when a giant, white sheet cake is sitting next to it remains an enduring mystery.

In theory, the event was a roast, although nobody said anything particularly cruel. Mostly, as Wulf sat in the hot seat looking manifestly uncomfortable, a succession of his associates took the floor to pronounce him a swell fellow.

“He used to come to every board meeting and just sit there,” recalled original EPRD board member Dan Lincoln. “He’d wait until we were completely through talking about something before he’d get up and tell us why it just won’t work.”

In an inspired and somewhat disquieting interlude, EPRD’s deputy director, Pat Callahan, entered the room wearing white long johns and talking in what may have been his “spooky voice.” Callahan spoke in the guise of Clarence the Angel, which would put Wulf in the role of George Bailey, which means that, at some point, he must have made out with Donna Reed, which would have to be the high point of anybody’s career. Staying in character, Callahan pointed out the rather overdeveloped Evergreen that might have been had Wulf not turned such great energy to parks and recreation.

Not to be outdone, parks supervisor Heart Cameron broke loose with “Poems, Prayers and Promises.” It’s a croony number, very ’70s, full of adult themes, and Cameron did a creditable job with it.

What with caucuses raging next door, the whole party took only an hour or so, but it was still a fitting tribute to one of Evergreen’s most prominent citizens. Before breaking up, the EPRD board sprang one final surprise. Henceforth and in perpetuity, the district facility on Olive Road shall be known as the Wulf Recreation Center, which is a tribute and a half. Wulf’s response?

“I’m speechless,” he said.