Renton Senior Activity Center renamed after long-time civic leader

Don Persson served the community for 53 years as as a police officer and a city councilmember.

The Renton Senior Activity Center was re-named on Sept. 10 in honor of civic leader Don Persson, who served the Renton community for 53 years.

The unveiling ceremony came after a barbecue attended by family, friends, and many current and former city officials.

“It’s very appropriate we name the senior center after Don,” said Mayor Armondo Pavone at the ceremony. “Taking care of our seniors was always at the top of his to-do list. He was an exceptional advocate, generously giving his time and talents.”

One of those to-do items was the annual Senior Thanksgiving Dinner, where for twenty-six years, Persson was the driving force behind the event that provided fellowship and nourishment to countless guests at the center which now bears his name.

His daughter, Lisa Berreth, spoke of her father’s humor and love of family.

“He was an amazing father, grandfather, and husband, spoiling us tremendously. He taught me to laugh very loudly and often and to believe in myself, and to know that there wasn’t anything I couldn’t do. He loved us unconditionally, and the world was better because he was in it,” Berreth said.

Former Renton Mayor Denis Law remembered his long-time friend’s sense of community.

“Commitment to community service was in Don’s DNA. He was always thinking about what we could do as individuals and what the city could do to improve the quality of life of our residents. He devoted his life to serving this community,” said Law.

Persson, once named Renton Chamber’s Citizen of the Year, was a founding board member of Renton River Days, Renton Regional Fire Authority, and Communities In Schools Board, and a Renton Rotary board member. He helped create the city’s neighborhoods program and provided food and other resources to ensure the success of REACH’s Center of Hope.

Persson’s 53 years included 33 with the Renton Police Department and 20 as a member of the Renton City Council. He retired from the council in December 2019. Persson passed away in October 2021.