Military Road section dedicated to late Parks and Recreation director

Even before his namesake signpost was unveiled yesterday, Tom Cross’ spirit was all over the stretch of Military Road between Pacific Avenue (SR7) and Spanaway Loop Road. Cross, the first Director of Pierce County Parks & Recreation, was instrumental in the development of Lake Spanaway Park, Lake Spanaway Golf Course, and Sprinker Recreation Center — all bordered by Military Road.

“Tom was a great administrator,” said Parks and Recreation Director Jan Wolcott, who succeeded Cross. “He was a great leader in the department.”

Wolcott, along with County Councilmember Barbara Gelman, Cross’ widow Ruth, and former county commissioner and councilmember Jack Bujacich, attended a ceremony at Sprinker Recreation Center to unveil two signs — one at Sprinker and the other on Military Road between Pacific Avenue (SR 7) and Spanaway Loop Road — to honor Cross and dedicate the stretch of road to the late public servant.

Cross was a leader in the Tacoma-Pierce County sports community for more than 40 years. During his tenure as director, he established 33 park sites totaling 1,700 acres and nearly 60,000 feet of waterfront. A complex — including two fields designed to accommodate softball and baseball games — was named for Cross when it opened in June 2002. Cross served as the director between 1958 and 1981. The Thomas A. Cross Endowment Fund was created to enhance and develop parks and recreation programs and facilities throughout Pierce County .

Cross died Dec. 9, 2003.

“My dad would be very honored by this tribute,” said Cross’ daughter, Chris.