A pond in Ken Kildahl’s memory
11:57 am September 26th, 2013
Ken Kildahl, who wore the uniform of a state fish and wildlife enforcement officer for more than 30 years, was a supporter of a kids’ fishing pond in Eatonville. (Courtesy photo)
By Pat Jenkins
The fishing pond that Ken Kildahl helped make kid-friendly will be named in his memory.
Kildahl, who died March 29 at the age of 65, was a former state Department of Fish and Wildlife enforcement officer. He was also active in the Eatonville community, where one of his favorite activities was to make sure the kids’ fishing pond at Smallwood Park was stocked by the state with trout each year for the opening day of fishing season.
“He did a lot to always have it ready for them. It would be very fitting to name the pond after him,” said Tom Smallwood, a former mayor of Eatonville whose father, George Smallwood, also an ex-mayor, is the park’s namesake.
Tom Smallwood spoke at a Town Council meeting Sept. 9, urging town officials to preserve Kildahl’s legacy. Mayor Ray Harper promised that a resolution to make the naming official would be presented to the council for approval – which happened at Monday’s council meeting.
Kildahl’s daughter, Amy Sniezak, said the family “is very humbled” by the honor.
“He loved the kids’ pond,” she said, adding that his annual work with it was “his favorite part of his job. It gave him great joy to see families enjoy the pond and park.”
Sniezak said naming part of Smallwood Park after her father has extra meaning because he greatly respected “George Smallwood’s efforts and his work in the community.”
Kildahl was an Eatonville resident. He served for several years on the Town Council and was a member of the Nisqually Land Trust and the Pierce County Community Action Board.
He worked for the state from 1971 to 2003, when he retired.
Sniezak, a teacher in the Eatonville School District, takes her students to the pond each April to see it being stocked with fish.
“I have many great memories of the pond from my own childhood and with my own kids,” Sniezak said. “I was always so proud to see my dad scoop the fish from the fish truck and hear the early reports about how many fish were going to be stocked for opening day. We laughed that other parents would sometimes get nervous fishing with their kids next to the game warden and his own kids, but he quickly put people at ease. He celebrated when fish were caught and families had a good time together.”