Pop Keeney Stadium and Blyth Park in Bothell could be renamed if one Bothell veteran’s proposal is approved by the school district and the city.
Parl Guthrie enlisted in the Marines in 1964 with two friends after graduating from Bothell High School. They were shipped off to Vietnam in early 1965. Guthrie was among some of the first Marines to land at Chu Lia.
Although he and his friends made it back safe, two other classmates, Richard Worthington and Chuck Slusser, who was in the Army, didn’t.
He has proposed changing the names of the city stadium and park to Pop Keeney Memorial Stadium and Blyth Memorial Park, with plaques bearing the names of fallen soldiers from all five branches of the military engraved at both locations.
“I think it’s extremely important that the community knows about the people who have given their lives,” he said. “The whole point of this whole thing is to keep the memory alive of the students who went through our school system and have given their lives to our country.”
Guthrie approached Amy Cast, president of the Northshore School District School Board, and the city of Bothell with the ideas.
Cast said she is preparing material to present to the full School Board at a June 28 meeting. Speaking for herself, she said she is open to the idea.
“I think it’s a really great idea. I’d love to continue to explore it from a process standpoint; it’s definitely something the School Board needs to review,” she said.
While Guthrie has thought about generating interest in a memorial for a long time, it wasn’t until he saw a recently dedicated memorial in Canada around Memorial Day that he began formulating a plan.
“As soon as I saw that wall [in Canada], I thought that would make a perfect wall of honor to honor our students here in Bothell,” he said.
He has been tracking down names of former students who have died in the service, but says many lists are incomplete. A good way to go about it, he said, could be to go through class reunion websites for notifications and names.
In posts on local Facebook pages like “Bothell Community”, Guthrie said he’s gotten more than 200 likes and dozens of comments in support of the idea.
“I think everybody feels like this is something that needs to be done,” he said.
At Pop Keeney Stadium an outside memorial wall with names could be added in conjunction with the name change, Guthrie said. A similar display could be installed at Blyth Park, he said.
He said he’s not sure how far back the list should look, but thinks names from at least the Vietnam War onward should be included as well as space for future names. But Guthrie said the School Board and city would hash out the details at their respective memorials.
“Every year there are school reunions at Blyth Park, and that would be an absolutely perfect place to have a memorial to the kids who have gone through the school system and passed away,” he said.
The memorials would need approval from both the Northshore School Board as well as the Bothell City Council.