The North County is dealing with major loss after the death of a San Diego State University professor and former Del Mar mayor.
A memorial was held Sunday morning at the Powerhouse Community Center in honor of Louis “Lou” Terrell, who died when he was struck and killed by a train while chasing his dog on Friday.
Those who knew him called him Lou. They say he gave countless hours to the community as a professor, a politician and an activist. They also say he loved dogs, especially his lab, Abe, who he was trying to save on these train tracks when he was killed.
“It's just a sense of loss I think that people say here's a person who dedicated many hours of his life to the community good,” said Joel Holliday, a good friend of Terrell.
On Friday, the former mayor and council man was walking his dog Abe unleashed on 11th street when an Amtrak train sounded its horn. Investigators believe that spooked his dog, sending him across the tracks causing Terrell to run after him. The train killed Terrell on impact.
“Hard to believe,” said Gordon Clanton, a friend and fellow professor at SDSU. “It takes time to adjust something like that. … He took his dogs with him to school in his car and had them in his office”
But more than a dog lover, those who knew him say he was a leader. He started the Del Mar Foundation. He was the president of Planned Parenthood San Diego County. He was the chair of the political science department as San Diego State.
He was a man not many will soon forget. “You don't find too many Lous,” Holliday said.
Terrell's family released a statement saying: "It's a tragic and shocking loss. He was beloved by his family and the community and former colleagues at SDSU."
Del Mar lifeguards took the family for a tribute to Terrell on Sunday morning at the beach on 19th Street. Terrell was an avid boogie boarder and spent a lot of time at the beach.