After a 50-year career in recreation, with the final 23 years being spent at Bend Park and Recreation District, Sue Boettner is retiring as BPRD Recreation Services Manager.
“My motto is ask for forgiveness instead of permission,” Boettner said when we talked to her last week.
“Took me forever to decide to retire because I really love what I do. And, you know, it’s hard to leave something that you love, but I think it’s time to go have more fun. And I figure I’ll come back around to do some volunteerism again,” Boettner said.
Boettner worked in a variety of different roles and positions throughout her time at the district and was instrumental in spearheading numerous programs.
“I’ve worked everywhere from the pool to the senior center to the office and all the programs. So I’ve had a pretty full career that’s been super fun,” Boettner said.
But after a legendary career, it’s the people and relationships that stand out.
“To my bosses, my big bosses, thanks for letting me be me because I know I’m a lot. To my staff, keep doing what you do. You’re amazing. And the community, thank you for believing in Bend Park and Rec and trusting your kids with us,” Boettner said.
The people she worked for and with feel the same way about her.
“Sue Boettner is one of the best representatives of the Park and Recreation District. She’s got a big personality. She knows everyone in the community and she also was just a really hard worker behind the scenes,” said BPRD Community Relations Manager Julie Brown.
“We really think the Park and Recreation ought to be for everybody and Sue really lives that. And because of her, we’ve been able to bring a lot of people into the program here at Bend Park and Recreation that probably wouldn’t have been active otherwise,” said BPRD Executive Director Don Horton.
Boettner’s first job was at a local YMCA in her hometown of Boston. She left Boston in 1978, but Boston never left her. Multiple pieces of sports memorabilia from that region adorn her office window. She notes that she was born on the very same day as Boston Celtics legend Larry Bird.
“You can take a girl out of Boston, but you can’t take the Boston out of the girl, is what they say. And I guess I left after the blizzard of ’78. So apparently it’s true,” Boettner said.
She headed west, spending 14 years in California before moving to Bend in 1992.
“And we’ve changed a lot and our communities embrace that and I’m just thankful that I got to be part of it,” Boettner said.
She worked for Sunriver Resort before starting at Bend Park and Rec in 2001. The rest, as they say, is history.
“People say that they hate going to work, but I can’t say that. I might have had some days in ther but, all in all, I love coming to work and it will be it’ll be a definitely an adjustment for me,” Boettner said.
“She is someone that we’ve always been able to rely on to be that go-to person and we appreciate all of her time here at the district,” Horton said.
“She’s everything that we want in an advocate for the importance of recreation from early childhood through older adults. She’s passionate. She leads with her heart and she cares deeply about wanting to help people,” Brown said.
BPRD is looking for Boettner’s successor.