In the 1990s, when Lygia was in her 70s, she took the bold step of engaging with her generation’s version of Match.com: She answered a personals ad Jim Charlton had placed, and the couple’s very first date was at Spring Lake Regional Park.
Lygia’s daughter, Diane DeRoo, says: “My mom was always a bit shy about the fact that they came together through a personals ad. When people asked her how they met, she’d leave out the part about the personals ad and just say they met on a park bench at Spring Lake! She was always willing to try new things, and I told her it was great that she answered the ad.”
Jim and Lygia wed and continued to enjoy walks and picnics at Spring Lake throughout their 20-year marriage. Then, in the summer of 2017, Lygia passed away. Seven months later, Jim also passed away. Jim left a $10,000 bequest to the Sonoma County Regional Parks Foundation to show the couple’s lasting appreciation for our beautiful parks.
The family’s fondness for Sonoma County’s Regional Parks extends to Lygia’s daughter Diane. Diane and her husband Michael, who own an RV, regularly drive from their home in Sebastopol to camp at Doran and Gualala Point Regional Parks. “We can drive a short 18 miles from home to Doran and be totally relaxed in the No Chore Zone,” Diane says. “There’s a wonderful bench at Doran with a plaque that reads, ‘May You Find Peace & Joy in This Moment.’ I like to sit there, take a deep breath and think, ‘That’s exactly how our parks make me feel!’”
The Parks Foundation is working with Diane to dedicate a bench at Spring Lake as part of Jim’s bequest. Diane concludes: “This is something that will be a lasting memorial to both my mom and Jim. It’s really meaningful to me and would certainly please both of them. Good stuff!”
LEARN MORE ABOUT COMMEMORATIVE GIFTS TO THE PARKS FOUNDATION