Following a celebration of Roy Saari’s life on Jan. 11 where over 300 people attended, the Town of Mammoth Lakes Planning Commission held a more intimate remembrance ceremony for their fellow commissioner at their regular Jan. 14 meeting.
Roy’s wife, Sheryl and his two children, Joani and Jeff, were in attendance. Commission Chair Elizabeth Tenney began by pointing out that Jan. 14 was the first meeting in almost 16 years that Roy had not been with them. Chair Tenney then led the rest of the commission with her thoughts on Roy and why he had been so special to her. When the rest of the commissioners had been able to add their comments and memories, Tenney opened the floor to the rest of the public.
Those that spoke included Town Council members, previous Planning Commission members, Town staff, and others who had known Roy throughout the years. Their thoughts echoed many that were expressed on Jan. 11, and all revolved around Roy’s humility, kindness, common sense, and patience.
“We are all better peoplefor having known him,” stated Community Development Director Mark Wardlaw.
After comments were finished, the Commission made a special presentation to the Saari family. It started with a large, white orchid that Tenney explained had been chosen because it was “so upstanding,” and therefore reminded them of Roy. A card and plaque followed. The plaque commemorates Roy’s dedication to the Town of Mammoth Lakes and will be hung in Suite Z so that the public will always be reminded of a man, who as Mayor Wendy Sugimura stated in a letter, “holds a special place of honor in our community.”
Chair Tenney added that a permanent memorial in the form of a bench is being created in Roy’s honor and will be placed in the Lakes Basin. She was unsure of which lake’s shore it will come to rest on, but the dedication is being planned for the summer solstice, which Tenney pointed out falls on Father’s Day this year – a seemingly perfect day for a man who is remembered by many for his devotion to his family.