Former Del Mar mayor Louis “Lou” Terrell – who was struck and killed by a train while running after his dog earlier this month – will be honored with a special proclamation at the Del Mar City Council meeting Tuesday.
The city council, led by current Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu, has declared Jan. 21, 2014, “Remembering Lou Terrell Day” in the City of Del Mar.
“Lou was a natural leader who set an example for all of us on how to make Del Mar a better place,” reads a proclamation from the council honoring Terrell. “His tremendous positive impact in this community will be significantly missed by all our residents.”
Terrell was fatally hit by an oncoming train on Jan. 3 near the train tracks in the 100-block of 11th Street, a popular crossing spot in Del Mar for surfers and pedestrians. He was taking part in one of his favorite daily activities, walking his dog, Abe, during the deadly accident.
According to investigators, Terrell was walking his unleashed dog when a northbound Amtrak train approached the area and sounded its horn. Officials believe the horn spooked the dog, which darted across the tracks with Terrell running after it. The train hit Terrell, killing him on impact.
The dog survived and was reunited with Terrell’s loved ones following the tragic accident.
Friends, family and the Del Mar City Council say Terrell loved body-surfing and would constantly catch waves at the local beach. The avid dog lover would also take daily walks around town, greeting fellow dog owners with a smile and conversation.
According to the city council, Terrell was an active member of the Del Mar community for more than 40 years. He was first appointed to a city committee on Jan. 2, 1979, serving as a member of the Beach Encroachment Committee. On Apr. 8, 1980, Terrell was elected to the city council, a position he held from 1980 to 1984.
On Apr. 20, 1981, the city council unanimously appointed Terrell as the mayor of Del Mar.
“Lou was an active participant in citizen meetings to develop the community plan and contributed significantly to our city by being the founder and early president of the Del Mar Foundation to help develop a diverse cultural arts program in the city, an endowment for the city and originating the summer concerts in the park, booking top performers to entertain citizens from all over the region,” cites Tuesday’s proclamation.
In addition to those duties, Terrell also represented Del Mar on SANDAG in 1980, served as President of Planned Parenthood of San Diego & Riverside Counties, served as a board member of the ACLU of San Diego and Imperial Counties, served as a board member and president of the Foundation for Change and was Chair of the Political Science Department at San Diego State University.
A memorial was held for Terrell on Jan. 5 at the Powerhouse Community Center. There, loved ones, friends and residents remembered the countless hours Terrell dedicated to Del Mar during his lifetime and said his death was a huge loss for the community.