Fittingly, park renamed in honor of former mayor | Klaas | SLIDESHOW

She was "Mother Mayor," the caretaker, a no-nonsense woman who had a vision for a city she was so passionate about.

Special day: Family and friends greeted Isabel Hogan at a ceremony to rename Russell Road Park after the former mayor last Saturday.

Special day: Family and friends greeted Isabel Hogan at a ceremony to rename Russell Road Park after the former mayor last Saturday.

She was “Mother Mayor,” the caretaker, a no-nonsense woman who had a vision for a city she was so passionate about.

Isabel Hogan was many things to many people, but mostly she was a classy, confident and entrusted leader who made an impact and left a legacy in Kent, her home for 62 years.

“She was very much a lady and very much a powerful lady,” said Tim Leahy, who served on the City Council for a term during Hogan’s reign as Kent’s first female mayor from 1970 to 1986. “But her kind of power was one of trust, respect and confidence.

“… She had the best interests of the city at heart,” Leahy said. “She had a style all her own. … She meant what she said and said what she meant.”

For her long service and many accomplishments – especially as a champion of parks, recreation and the arts while in office – the city honored the 93-year-old woman last Saturday morning, officially renaming the Russell Road Sports Complex as Hogan Park at Russell Road.

“I’m overwhelmed,” Hogan told the crowd at a late-morning renaming celebration in the park. “I certainly appreciate this great honor. Thank you all.”

The City Council approved the change earlier last month to honor her work.

An archway sign will be erected at the entrance of the triplex fields entrance. A plaque was dedicated. Other signage will reflect the new name.

“Providing public spaces for the entire community to enjoy was a top priority for Mayor Hogan,” said Jeff Watling, Kent’s Parks Recreation and Community Services director. “Naming this park after her, one that is visited by kids of all ages, is a tremendous way to honor and thank her for her years of service and support for parks.”

The popular park transcends many generations. It remains a big part of Kent. The 30.4-acre sports complex, with lighted baseball/softball fields, picnic facilities, walking trails and play equipment, hosts approximately 2,500 sporting events each year.

Many city leaders, including those who served in her administration, took turns praising the woman and her ways.

“When I came to work for the city in 1975 as the director of the Kent Senior Center, I quickly came to respect Mayor Hogan for being both a no-nonsense business person, and a woman who always dressed properly with a hat,” said Mayor Suzette Cooke. “She bridged the role of ‘Mother Mayor’ with the political acumen of Margaret Thatcher,” Cooke said.

Cooke went on to explain that the inspiration for naming a park to honor Hogan came from Alex Jones, a Kent resident who retired from Kent Parks operations. Hogan, Jones said, valued park spaces and the people who maintained them.

“She always looked after us,” Jones told the crowd.

According to former councilmember Judy Woods, who now serves as president of the Kent Parks Foundation, Hogan represented the “gold standard” of public service.

Prior to her election, Mayor Hogan graduated from the Columbus Hospital of Nursing in Seattle and worked at Renton Hospital, now the site of McClendon’s Hardware on Rainier Avenue.

She was a member of the Kent Orthopedic and St. John’s Guilds, served on the Scenic Hill Elementary PTA and Kent Park Board Commission, and was elected to the board of directors at the Kent School District.

As mayor, she represented Kent on numerous organizations including the Metro Council and the Puget Sound Council of Governments.

Hogan calls Kent’s Scenic Hill neighborhood her home. She had six children with her late husband, Dr. James Hogan.

“I stay busy,” Hogan said. “I try to stay active.”

And remain a big part of Kent, a community she calls “a pretty nice place to be.”

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