Garden Grove

Jack Wallin, Strawberry Festival founder

JACK AND MARGE WALLIN in the 2018 Strawberry Festival parade (Orange County Tribune photo).

Jack Wallin, one of the founders of the annual and popular Strawberry Festival in Garden Grove, passed away Friday night. According to sources close to the family, he was at Hoag Hospital in Newport Beach attended by relatives and friends at the time of his death at the age of 88.

Wallin was on the committee that established the event that succeeded the old Grovers’ Day festival. The very first Strawberry Festival was held in 1958 as a tribute to what was at that time a major crop as Garden Grove made the transition from an agricultural town to a suburban city.

The festival is one of the largest community events in the western United States, and donates its earnings to non-profit groups and charities serving Garden Grove.

Wallin has served on the board of what is now the Strawberry Festival Association since its start, and has been active in many community organizations and agencies including the Kiwanis Club and Elks Lodge and the city’s recreation and parks commission.

He served as grand marshal of the festival parade in 2008 and again in 2018, according to published reports. His memory will also be honored with the placement of a bust in the Atlantis Play Center, which he was instrumental in establishing in his role with the city parks department. He retired as parks superintendant after 17 years working for Garden Grove.

Memorial services will be held at Kiwanisland Park, but details were not available as of this writing.

UPDATE: A “Celebration of Life” for Jack Wallin will be held on Friday, Sept. 28 at 1 p.m. at Kiwanisland, 9840 Larson in Garden Grove. In lieu of flowers, it’s requested that donations be made in Jack’s name to Kiwanis.

2 replies »

  1. Talk about volunteerism, Jack wrote the book on it here in Garden Grove. He was one of the few who, for all of his life, consistently gave back to the community of which he loved and made our town a better place fore it. He was one in a million and will be greatly missed by all!
    Scott Weimer

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