Marysville thanks outgoing mayor

Marysville’s Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima, right, presents outgoing Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall, left, with a framed meeting gavel, a photo of him on a playground slide and a copy of the proclamation in his honor. - Kirk Boxleitner
Marysville’s Chief Administrative Officer Gloria Hirashima, right, presents outgoing Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall, left, with a framed meeting gavel, a photo of him on a playground slide and a copy of the proclamation in his honor.
— image credit: Kirk Boxleitner

MARYSVILLE — Outgoing Marysville Mayor Dennis Kendall was honored by friends, neighbors and colleagues at a dinner at the Cedarcrest Golf Course July 28 and a roast at the Tulalip Resort Casino July 30.

State Rep. Kirk Pearson joined state Senators Jean Berkey and Mary Margaret Haugen in visiting the Cedarcest Grill to pay their respects to Kendall personally. All three legislators agreed that Kendall maintained an active presence in Olympia as a strong advocate for his city. Naval Station Everett Executive Officer Cmdr. Dan Limberg and Commanding Officer Capt. Mike Coury also arrived to commend Kendall’s support of Naval families living in the area.

“He’s the most outstanding mayor I’ve served with,” said Mary Swenson, who retired this year as Marysville’s chief administrative officer after more than 32 years on the city’s staff. Swenson teased Kendall about his fondness for bringing restaurants into the city, even as she lauded him for the concern he demonstrated for the city’s employees.

“He led by example and showed us how to connect with our citizens by being part of the community and delivering better customer service,” said Gloria Hirashima, who took over as Marysville’s chief administrative officer from Swenson. Hirashima credited Kendall with sparking countless children’s interest in city government with his enthusiasm and accessibility.

City Public Works Director Kevin Nielsen reported that Kendall was sighted on the streets at 6:30 a.m. June 11 in a hardhat, the morning after rain had flooded the Public Works building, while city Parks and Recreation Director Jim Ballew noted Kendall’s fondness for opening new parks, with six such ribbon-cuttings during his tenure.

“He’s a terrific man who cares about the people of this community and the police department,” Marysville Police Cmdr. Robb Lamoureux said. “He’s always engaged and wants to know about everything.”

At the Greater Marysville Tulalip Chamber of Commerce Business Before Hours in the Tulalip Canoes Cabaret Room, Everett Mayor Ray Stephanson and Arlington Mayor Margaret Larson admitted that they found it hard to take even gentle jabs at Kendall. Stephanson echoed Limberg and Coury’s praise for Kendall as a friend to area Naval families, even as he joked that the city of Marysville’s recent annexation was Kendall’s attempt to surpass Everett as the largest city in Snohomish County. Although Larson and Kendall were elected to their first terms as mayor at the same time, Larson thanked Kendall for helping her grow into her job.

“He hit the ground running and knew what he was doing, but I didn’t have those skills,” Larson said. “What I want to know is, where does he get his energy? It’s astounding.”

Tulalip Tribal Chair Mel Sheldon Jr. and state Rep. John McCoy, the latter of whom recently stepped down as manager of Quil Ceda Village, agreed with Stephanson that Kendall had worked hard to improve the city of Marysville’s relationship with the Tulalip Tribes.

“He connected with everyone for the betterment of the community,” Sheldon said. “He helped me be a better leader.”

“He only called to ask me for things every once in a while, like a university or a NASCAR track,” McCoy said, to laughter from the crowd. “You know, little things.”

Snohomish County Council member John Koster facetiously suggested that the only reason Kendall never invited him to one of his regular meetings at Applebee’s was because “he didn’t want to be seen with the only Republican he’s ever endorsed.” Koster nonetheless described Kendall as “the most dedicated of public servants, who gives 110 percent.”

Incoming Marysville Mayor Jon Nehring recalled how Kendall, who was determined not to bounce a ground ball while throwing out the first pitch at Cedar Field, had gotten a fire district ladder truck to lift him well above the pitcher’s mound. As Nehring pointed out, Kendall overshot his mark by breaking the baseball field’s sign with his pitch.

“He’s been responsible for making a lot of lives better, including mine,” Nehring said, turning serious.

Kendall’s wife, Sue teased him about his negligent housework the last time he quit a job, while Kendall himself shared credit for his accomplishments with the city’s other employees and elected officials, as well as those with whom he worked in neighboring jurisdictions.

“If it wasn’t for all of you, I wouldn’t even be here,” Kendall said.

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