Del Mar to honor former Mayor Lou Terrell


By Kristina Houck

The Del Mar City Council will honor the life of former Mayor Lou Terrell during its Jan. 21 meeting.

Terrell, 75, died Jan. 3 when he was struck and killed by a train near Powerhouse Park while chasing his dog across the tracks.

A longtime Del Mar resident, Terrell served as mayor and councilman in the 1980s. The council will present Terrell’s family with a proclamation to honor his memory and contributions to the city during the next meeting.

“On behalf of the city, I would like to publicly extend our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Lou Terrell,” said Del Mar Mayor Lee Haydu at the start of the Jan. 6 meeting. “He made a tremendous difference in our community.”

Terrell was a retired political science professor and former department chairman at San Diego State University. He founded and served as president of the Del Mar Foundation. He also served in leadership roles at Planned Parenthood of San Diego and Riverside Counties, as well as the American Civil Liberties Union of San Diego and Imperial Counties.

Terrell was walking his dog, Abe, off leash about 3:20 p.m. near the tracks on 11th Street in Del Mar when an Amtrak train sounded its horn. When the dog moved toward the tracks, Terrell went to grab Abe and was struck by the train, according to the sheriff’s department. He died at the scene.

He is survived by his wife, Juvenile Court Judge Carol Isackson, and stepchildren, Amy and Joel Isackson. Friends and family celebrated the life of Terrell during a memorial service Jan. 5 at the Powerhouse Community Center.

Haydu and San Diego County Supervisor Dave Roberts were among those in attendance.

“Lou had an infectious smile. He was a very genuine person and easy to talk to,” said Haydu after the meeting. “He will be greatly missed. He cared deeply for this community and everyone in it.”

“He made my life so much richer by knowing him. He was just wonderful,” said Roberts in a phone call prior to the meeting. “Anytime I needed something, I could call him and he’d help me. He was always trying to help others. That’s how I’m going to remember him.”