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Friends of Skateboarder Want Memorial Park in His Memory

Tucker Hacking, 20, of Walnut Creek, died Sunday after he suffered a head injury on a Lafayette hill.

A Facebook-driven movement is underway to re-name the after a popular 20-year-old Walnut Creeker who died Sunday after a skateboard accident in Lafayette Friday.

Tucker Hacking of Walnut Creek suffered a head injury Friday after falling on a steep stretch of Juanita Drive in Saranap on the border of Lafayette and Walnut Creek, just south of Highway 24. Hacking was taken to Kaiser Permanente Walnut Creek, fell into a coma and then died on Sunday, the Contra Costa County coroner's office reported.

Hacking was an independent spirit.

"He paved his own road," said Marcela Riojas, a Walnut Creek friend. "He was not a follower."

A Facebook Public Event, titled "Help Create — Tucker Hacking Memorial Skate Park,"
has drawn more than 1,100 people to it in about 15 hours.

"Let's keep THacks alive forever through the one place he loved the most," the Public Event states. The skate park, created in 2005, is adjacent to Walnut Creek's . Earlier this week, it was marked by graffiti reading "Tucker RIP."

"I'm trying to stay positive," said Dallas Phillips of Lafayette, a skateboard buddy of Hacking who was not with him when the accident happened.

Phillips said many of his days began with a text from Hacking saying "Walnut Creek skate park?" Typically, he would meet Hacking there and two would migrate  to other hilly streets in Walnut Creek and Lafayette, "bombing hills," said Phillips.

"He always had a smile on his face,'" said Riojas. "He always wanted to share happiness with people … he had the biggest heart. He always wanted to have fun."

Sometimes Hacking would get up before the sun and go surfing, returning to Walnut Creek before 8 to go skateboarding, she said. He was also an avid mountain biker and telemark skier.

Hacking recently got a fun job in which he went to various schools teaching kids how to create things from Lego blocks, said Riojas, who attends Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Hacking attended Santa Barbara City College and then Diablo Valley College.

Riojas were cross-town friends  — she went to and Hacking went to . He was a member of the Northgate water polo team.

"He passed doing something he loved," said Riojas.

From the Facebook Public Event:

We are trying to get the city of Walnut Creek to rename the nameless skate park Tucker Hacking Memorial Skate Park. Let's keep THacks alive forever through the one place he loved the most. We need to make the city understand that an entire community and culture exists at the skate park and Tucker was and is a huge part of it. He deserves recognition. We have lost a genuinely spirited person but we haven't lost the opportunity to immortalize his name in a skate park where he influenced many. Tucker Hacking was always full of laughter and had a passion for risk and adventure. Nothing would make him happier than to look down and see us honor a place where he loved to shred em with his homies. Tucker Everlasting

bryan February 02, 2012 at 11:50 PM
A little off topic but if the city gave me the paint I'd buff out graffiti for free. I HATE that stuff!!
Creek Diva February 03, 2012 at 12:15 AM
How about a memorial mural or sorts? I'm all for public art as long as it doesn't get defaced.
Mom of the Horde February 03, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Can I give you a piece of friendly advice? You'll catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Being belligerent isn't going to work. Do what the friends/families of other teens that have died have done. Raise the money for the kind of memorial you want, and then go to the city, tell them you've raised the money for it, and I'll bet that they'll say yes. Go in with a plan. What kind of memorial? Who is going to maintain it? Who is going to pay to maintain it? After Adam Williams was killed a few years ago, his friends and family raised the money and then got the permission to install a bench with a small memorial plaque in Shell Ridge Open Space. As far as graffiti goes? The stuff done with permission of the owner of the property is art. Anything else is still vandalism no matter how well done it is. Want to know what the best memorial for your friend would be? Wear a damned helmet. Grab a helmet and some paint and make it look cool if you must, but just wear the damned thing. Looking cool isn't worth dying over.
Julie Mendelsohn February 03, 2012 at 01:06 AM
CJ, that comment is really below the belt. I know plenty of very good kids, who are doing well at Las Lomas and DVC, who have NEVER been arrested nor have gotten into any trouble, who spend time at the skatepark. Your broad brush of these kids shows the type of prejudging that goes on regarding skateboarders. I'm a property taxpayer in this town, and I'd much rather have monies spent on a skate park memorial than watch our tax dollars go down the drain with all the boozing which has been plaguing our community for way too long. My son is an avid skateboarder, has never been arrested, has a job, goes to school and spends plenty of time at the skatepark. Your blanket condemnation of these kids is inappropriate.
Pacman February 03, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Let me explain what got a few of us riled up here. We as a community built a skate park. It has in fact been defaced and as documented in the photos above, become a hangout do to undesirable activities by some measurable percentage of its users. It's frustrating to those of us that remember riding skateboards (without helmets) before any of these kids were born that some of them have tarnished this gift provided to them by the community. Judging from the photo above, it appears that the group represented in the photos is now expecting us to grant them a memorial to their friend. They (at least Mr. Van Damme) become incensed and beligerant when they haven't received blind compliance to their "demands" from the City staff or readers here. Of course not every kid that has ever ridden a skateboard is a miscreant. I'd even hope that not everyone in the group photo reached into those cases of beer or are the ones I've seen smoking dope at the picnic tables or chasing younger skateboarders out of the park. I can even recognize that young people (like Mr. Van Damme) aren't prepared to deal with grief and may stumble in their reactions to the situation. I will say that poor behavior at the skate park, in dealing with others, etc. is a lousy way to start the conversation and has soured my support for their proposal. Perhaps an effort to clean up the place and their actions might yield a more favorable response. C'mon Mr. Van Damme (and others), prove me wrong.
bryan February 03, 2012 at 02:13 AM
Please no. And no "midnight basketball" and "hip hop dance parties" and all the other stuff people grab onto to make themselves feel better about keeping kids busy. I have to say it sounds a little like extortion to say give us a skatepark or a basketball court or we'll go out and thug. So no "murals" by graffiti "artists" please...
bryan February 03, 2012 at 02:16 AM
That sounds reasonable to me, and suggests a true commitment to their friend. Better than pouring a 40 out in his name. It sounds like he was a good kid. If so I'm sure a way can be found to remember him .... appropriately.
Lauren Brookhart February 03, 2012 at 02:39 AM
I want everyone with an opinion on this to understand that to say our situation as simply as possible, we are trying to take something tragic that occurred in our lives and do something creative and constructive for the person we adored who died. If anyone read the CCTimes article, Tucker was going to school to become a 8th grade teacher because he wanted to steer youth into a positive direction. He was obviously projecting his dream onto those at the skatepark, making himself a role model for the young teens and the choices they would make in their lives. Why does so much negativity have to be involved in this issue? Yes, this is another tragic story and reason that you can take your child aside and show them why it is so important to wear a helmet but he was a son, brother and friend, a inspirational human being who we believe deserves recognition. As I told members of the city, the graffiti at the skatepark is an outlet for those of his friend to mourn him. Illegal? Yes. So what better way to cease the graffiti at the park then to have it renamed and show those at the skatepark that Tucker has been honored. Everyone who is being negative, this is a human being's life you are talking about whose friends and family will be seeing this. Please if you have nothing but negativity to bring to this issue please remain silent, we have had enough of it by the first person. For those who support, thank you and know you are part of a great community effort.
DubCeemom February 03, 2012 at 03:59 AM
Well said, Lauren. Tucker was a fine young man, one most of us would have been proud to have as our own son. Naming the skate park after him would be wonderful.
CJ February 03, 2012 at 04:30 AM
I'm sorry but grafitti is vandalism. It is PC to call it art. I know art when I see it and that isn't art.
CJ February 03, 2012 at 04:43 AM
Maybe delinquents was a little harsh. I get your point.
CJ February 03, 2012 at 04:45 AM
Well stated Pacman.
Nancy Juracka February 03, 2012 at 06:37 PM
My son died 5 1/2 years ago and I am the Chapter Leader of The Compassionate Friends of Contra Costa County which is a nonprofit that supports parents of children who have died. Naming the skate board park will be a wonderful tribute to Tucker but there will be plenty of time to work on that endeavor. Right now the family needs your support. The death of a child is the most horrific thing that can happen to a family. It changes your life forever so please focus all your energies right now on being present for the family and surrounding them with your love of Tucker. It is so easy to say how all this could of been prevented but believe me when I say the guilt that parents feel when their child dies is overwhelming so please just put your arms around this family and just listen to them talk about their son and tell them how sorry you are and how much you will miss Tucker. That's what they need right now.
lamorinda mom February 03, 2012 at 06:56 PM
You can make that 3. My friend's nephew died on a longboard, no helmet, in Iowa three years ago. He was famous for his athletic ability but it only takes one mistake.... So, so sad.
Christina February 03, 2012 at 08:37 PM
One, stop BLINDLY throwing around words like "vandalism" and "underage drinking". The guys were commemorating Tucker's life by putting his name on the skatepark. And it's not advisable, especially when you're an adult, to speak from a place of ignorance; just because Tucker wasn't 21, doesn't mean none of his friends are either. I happen to know a lot of them are 21+. Two, I'm sure if Tucker's funeral had passed already, he'd be rolling over in his grave. I'm also guessing he'd want his friends celebrating his life and remembering him in this way, rather than being unnecessarily frigid and losing sight of what we really should be focusing on, and that's his life, and passing. In other words, his friends know this is what he would have wanted. So if you weren't a friend, might wanna bite your tongue. Lastly, if you didn't know Tucker, and don't know his friends, you should stop commenting and introducing animosity during a time when people are grieving. All they want is for the skatepark to be named after him. If that makes you burn with rage, go somewhere else and cry about it.
Dan Perez February 03, 2012 at 10:22 PM
My condolences to the family during this tough time. Perhaps the skateboarding community should vow to wear their helmets from now on, in honor of Tucker, so his death is not in vain. There should be some "self-policing" among themselves, to enforce this. For the younger skateboarders, parents should attempt to use logic to get them to wear their helmets. If my kid was old enough to skateboard and it became a hobby of his, I would say something like "You want to make sure you can have all this great fun for a long time, so wear your helmet. If you get a head injury, you won't be able to do it anymore. Deal?"
Robert Strauss February 03, 2012 at 11:39 PM
Memorial tree? Get his friends together and get enough money for a city approved tree to be planted near the park, perhaps with a plaque or marker with his name... might be easier than renaming the park.
Julie Mendelsohn February 07, 2012 at 03:03 PM
I'm not sure why it would be easier to rename a tree than the park. The same plaque which would go on the tree could also fit on the skatepark, no? And couldn't folks raise the money for the plaque without the city being involved financially? What does 'Friends of the Skatepark' say in this matter? Their fundraising and public awareness made the skatepark happen, if memory serves. They would have a rough idea about how much a plaque would cost for the skatepark, correct?
Clinton Hubbard February 08, 2012 at 02:50 AM
calling his friends homies is offensive. That implies that these are bad kids. I am at that park at least three times a week. I know that these are all nice kids. Don't be so arrogant.
Clinton Hubbard February 08, 2012 at 03:05 AM
This skatepark was built for, guess what, skateboarders!! No skateboarder cares if there is some graffiti. It is not hurting anyone. The only people that complain against graffiti are people who don't even spend time at the skatepark. How much sense does that make. You couldn't find one person at the skatepark that would want the art displaying Tucker's name removed from the back of the skatepark. Not to mention, the painting is on a piece of wood, not the cement; it is doing no harm and there is absolutely no vandalism involved with it.
Creek Diva February 08, 2012 at 03:28 AM
@Clinton the "homies" was a direct quote from the Facebook event. I'm no spring chicken anymore, but I'm pretty darn sure kids still call each other homies as term of endearment. Ya' dig?
Dave Enright February 09, 2012 at 10:55 AM
Hey Mark Smallhoover, pretty lame excuse. Skateboarders don't like wearing helmets in the same way swimmers don't like to wear floaties? How many times in the last 5 years was a recreational swimmer, purposely swimming in the way a skateboarder is purposely boarding for practice/tricks, killed because they drowned without floaties? The answer is ZERO. Skateboarding is inherently dangerous and these kids that think they are invincible and too cool for protective equipment are dying every year. No, we can't make them wear the equipment. Ultimately it's up to each individual boarder. I know of at least one that if you were able to ask would like a do-over. It's a tragedy and one that unfortunately will be repeated over and over again. Personally, I think the city should CLOSE the park. As a tax payer I wouldn't want the liability because ultimately lawsuits are going to file. A family member is going to sue the city because the city wasn't vigilant enough in forcing their loved one to wear the protective helmet he purposely wouldn't wear because it wasn't cool to wear one. Yes, unfortunately the only answer to eliminate broken bones and lives is to close the park. Put a remembrance placque up for sure in his memory, but close the park. The city needs to save lives and prevent tragedies like this, not allow them to possibly happen over and over. Just my opinion. I could be wrong.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop February 09, 2012 at 03:18 PM
Another re-action-ary response to people enjoying themselves! These folks would have us all cocooned in bubblewrap, cowering in our attics for fear of the dangerous world. Society maybe has the responsibility to inform citizens of potential danger (road signs) but certainly not the job of eliminating them all. Where's the fun in that?
Dave Enright February 09, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Reactionary? Perhaps, but the city is really left with no choice when the park they set up for all to enjoy, as long as those that use it follow the rules regarding safety equipment, isn't being used properly. It's not reactionary when only one side is playing by the rules and knowing this allow that side to continue to do so at their own peril. You're right, there's no "fun" in it at all. It's tragic and when a government realizes the general public won't protect themselves from imminent harm/death they have a responsibility to protect the general public from themselves.
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop February 09, 2012 at 04:52 PM
I thought most of the bellyaching around here was founded on less government in our lives. Now you expect said government to hold each and every one of our hands. Cannot have it both ways. Call it natural selection or culling the herd. If you're too dumb to know what's good (or bad) for you and it doesn't kill you, it is called an 'educational experience.' I would settle for safe roads and a well trained police force in necessary numbers in a corporal sense. Don't get me started on financial oversight!
Julie Mendelsohn February 10, 2012 at 02:24 PM
I don't follow this, Dave. Tucker didn't have an accident at the skatepark, so why all the frustration about helmets? He died boarding on the street.
Dave Enright February 10, 2012 at 03:27 PM
LOL It doesn't take MORE government to protect the idiots from themselves. Enforvce the laws on the books as is. If the idiots don't want to follow the rules and put the city's coffers in jeopardy then fill in the skate park and make it a nice huge lawn. You're "less government" argument is a red herring. I don't expect the goverment to "hold everyone's hands", just the idiots that need protection from themselves as they are the ones that will put you and I in danger as they have no care for themselves.
kyle February 13, 2012 at 07:57 PM
Rest IN Peace Tucker. Name the skatepark after him, its only right...
Fritz 'Congodog' Stoop February 13, 2012 at 08:17 PM
All due respect, Mr. Enright, but you cannot have it both ways. I suppose we could register all the idiots and get them covered by a public "Idiot Umbrella Policy" and create yet another bureaucracy. We must take responsibility for our own actions if we want the government out of our lives. Red herring, indeed! Snort!
Julie Mendelsohn April 27, 2012 at 02:04 PM
What's the current status of this?

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