The Bird Rock Community Council added a new bench to the neighborhood’s Mosaic Bench Beautification series. “Bird Rock By The Sea,” sits at the foot of Bird Rock Avenue, overlooking the ocean.
Created earlier this year, the bench marks the 10th anniversary of the series and highlights the character attributes of Jacob Dekema, a past resident of Bird Rock, who died in 2017, at age 101. With the theme “Building Bridges, Connecting Community” highlighted on the bench, it was one of his gifts to the neighborhood. As the mastermind behind building the San Diego freeway system, Dekema created new paths for communities to connect and was affectionately known as “Mr. Caltrans.”
This legendary man was a harmonizer, a caring father and grandfather, thoughtful, had a great sense of humor, and was a great storyteller. He listened to everyone, loved music (especially the song “Happy Trails”) and loved the people of Bird Rock. He was also a man of action. He had the gift of building bridges with people, as well as real bridges and roads, to connect others. He brought out the best in those around him and as noted on the bench, he would always “Cherish Family and Community.”
Jacob Dekema’s spirit is reflected throughout the bench for all to see. The qualities he possessed still emanate throughout Bird Rock today.