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RV Park Owner Inspiration Behind Light Display

December 22, 2010 by   - () Leave a Comment

Aerial view of Bernardo Shores RV Park in suburban San Diego, formerly owned by Imperial Beach benefactor Bernard Smith, who died in 2008 at age 89.

If you have passed Triangle Park lately at Palm Avenue and Seventh Street in Imperial Beach, Calif., you would be hard pressed to miss the Christmas tree of lights, the Imperial Beach Patch reported.

At the tree’s base, two small yellow signs read “In memory of Bernard Smith.”

About 10 years ago, the city went to Smith for the first pole to erect the tree, which he regularly made as owner of Bernardo Shores RV Park.

“We decided to put up that little sign in honor of him,” said Mayor Jim Janney. “A lot of people don’t know what he gave to IB.”

A few years before his death in 2008 at age 89, Smith anonymously donated a large amount of money to the creation of a park at Bayside Elementary School.

Public Works officials were unable to confirm an exact amount but Janney said “he gave the largest amount to that whole thing and he really cleared the way for that park to be built.”

Another tree is also in Veterans Park. LED bulbs are used to light the tree.

Ted Smith, Bernard’s son, now runs the RV park and said his father was a pretty humble person when it came to charity. In fact, he didn’t learn about some of his father’s good deeds until after his death when speaking to one of his tenants.

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