by Hilary Canty
Orcas Island Community Foundation
Looking around Orcas this summer, it is hard not to feel the presence of Bob Henigson.
A man of many passions, Bob’s legacy is evident in so many of the places that make Orcas so vibrant. In his lifetime, he donated Library Park and with his legacy gift, he was instrumental in completing the recent Library expansion. The current remodeling of the Funhouse is also being completed in part thanks to Bob’s legacy gift. The fourth Henigson Scholarship was recently awarded making college within reach for a very bright and motivated Orcas High graduate. OPAL and the Community Foundation are discussing ways to get the April’s Grove affordable rental project underway and considering investing a portion of OICF’s Henigson legacy funds, while the Chamber Music Festival will once again provide a free concert on the green, all thanks to Bob’s legacy.
The Henigson Family and the school district would like to bring another of Bob’s passions to life by building a track. Bob, a lifelong runner, found joy in competing in his later years. As his wife Phyllis, recounts “Bob had been a runner just for his own pleasure for all the years. He ran 10K’s. He did not enter races until he reached age 50 as he knew he likely did not have a chance to win until he reached that category. After achieving that milestone, he won every race he entered—including a very big race held at the Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia, California.” Bob prepared for those races by running almost daily on the local high school track near their house. What better way to honor his memory than making those experiences possible for the Orcas community?
The Henigson Family has committed $1 million which will fully fund the track construction. In addition, Bob left a legacy gift to the district, establishing a $1.25 Million endowment, providing approximately $60,000 in revenue annually. The school district intends to fund track maintenance from these revenues.
There will be a levy on the ballot this November to cover the costs of renovating the fields surrounding the track, including Dahl Field and a new soccer and football field in the interior of the track. Once completed, the new track and rehabilitated fields will be used for little league, track, soccer, football, and PE. They will also be available for the entire community to enjoy. This project is a great public private partnership that will benefit all.
Bob invested deeply in this community and has left us with opportunities to continue to learn, listen, and engage. The track is a great tribute to a remarkable man. I look forward to taking a lap with you.