The Hesperia Recreation and Park District is looking to fill the large shoes of Richard Lupton, the four-term board member who died on Nov. 9 following a years-long struggle with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.


Following Lupton's death, the district released a public notice inviting candidates living within its boundaries to to apply to fill the vacant seat. Applicants, who had until Monday, Nov. 30 to apply, are expected to attend a special meeting or the board's regularly scheduled meeting on Dec. 9. The district has 60 days following Lupton's death to fill the position.


Park district general manager Cal Camara said several residents involved with the district have expressed interest and obtained applications.


"We want to do it as soon as possible," Camara said.


In Camara's two decades with the district only three seated board members have died. Bud Coleman was killed in a car accident and Rick Novack died of a heart attack after attending a park district event. Following their deaths the district named facilities in their honor the Coleman Field, which is the site of baseball and softball games, and the Novack Community Center, which houses a gymnasium.


Lupton, who Camara believes would likely have been elected to a fifth term next November, was a special and memorable board member.


"I've been real privileged to have great board members through the years," Camara said. "They're all unique in their own way. They all add value. But Richard was a special person because he chose to be very, very involved in stuff."


And he was extremely well-liked.


"Richard was the type of person who was willing to listen to another point of view," he said. "But his true strength was to make staff very comfortable and support them. When he came into the office he was welcomed. You looked forward to seeing him."


Lupton was a key proponent of finger-printing and Department of Justice background checks for all who come in contact with youth coaches, support staff and board members.


"While Richard was focused on the total park district, his love was making sure that children were well looked after," Camara said. "That was his passion, making sure kids were safe. He really embedded that philosophy in the district over the years as a priority."