Director Radke, a longtime Martinez resident, died Sunday at age 71. He was the longest-serving board member in the history of the 86-year-old Park District.
Director Radke was elected to represent Ward 7 on the Park District board in 1978, with stints as president in 1986, 1987 and 1995. During his tenure on the board, the Park District’s acreage more than doubled, with large expansions into the Delta area and eastern Contra Costa County – a move for which he strongly advocated. Director Radke was also instrumental in the Park District strengthening its legislative ties in Sacramento and Washington, D.C., eventually becoming a national leader in park legislation advocacy. He constantly pushed for park funding.
“He was a conservation lion,” said Park District General Manager Robert Doyle. “He was very aggressive in advocating for preservation, especially along the Contra Costa County shoreline, and fought some very tough environmental battles to preserve open space. His strong leadership and legislative advocacy left a huge impact in the East Bay.”
Director Radke and his wife, Kathy, successfully pushed for the preservation of Alhambra Creek and the Martinez Shoreline, and worked with Rep. George Miller to secure funding for projects in Ward 7 such as expansion of the John Muir National Site and creation of Carquinez Strait Regional Shoreline. Along with his wife, Director Radke was the co-author of “The People’s Choice: An Owner’s Guide to Direct Democracy and Political Participation in California,” and was co-founder of Contra Costa Ecology Action and Eco-Info.
Director Radke received his master’s degree in social science from San Francisco State University in 1969 and taught political science at Contra Costa Community College until he retired in 2004. Prior to serving on the Park District board, he served on the Martinez City Council and the Association of Bay Area Governments board.
His wife, Kathy, died in 2011. He is survived by two sons and several grandchildren.
Services are pending.
– East Bay Regional Park District