Tahoe City remembers Chris Park
November 10, 2008
TAHOE CITY “-Saturday’s skies matched the mood in the Bridgetender parking lot as guests gathered tightly under a tent for Chris Park’s memorial service. Both rain and tears seemed to fall for the late owner of one of Tahoe City’s most popular restaurants.
Family, friends, and community members attending Park’s memorial service filled the restaurant’s footprint, most staying through the night.
“It is rare to have one person touch so many lives but Chris did that effortlessly,” said friend Gary Furumoto. “He will be missed but never forgotten.”
“Some people are born fiercely independent, some have to learn it. Chris was born with it,” said Park’s brother, Steve. “He was such an indomitable force. What guy looked at Chris’ life and didn’t want it?”
If the amount of people in attendance was not enough to convince you how important Park was to the community, the speeches on his behalf should have.
Whether you listened to friends speak about the thousands of golf rounds they played with Park, his brothers speak about their memories of him as a kid, past and present employees speak about their beloved boss, or the memories of players he coached on the basketball court, you knew Park was a legend.
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“Besides my parents, C.P. and Nick [Fuller] have been the most influential people in my life,” said Furumoto.
As the celebration continued well into the night, Park’s catch phrase, “You gotta Huke!” rang throughout the restaurant.
A shortened version of “hukilau,” a Hawaiian word meaning a festive beach gathering, “You gotta Huke!” was Park’s philosophy of enjoying every moment in life as if it was your last.
While Park spent the past 31 years building countless friendships and one of Tahoe City’s most successful restaurants, the current staff plans to carry on his legacy by running the restaurant the way it has always been run.
Despite some questioning the Bridgetender’s fate after losing Park and other owner Nick Fuller in the past month, the staff would like everyone to know, “The B.T. is not going anywhere.”