Ted and Bernadine Mathison traveled, took classes and always tried to learn more. Bernadine passed away at 77, "going to meetings right to the end." Eight years later, at 89, Ted married longtime family friend Nina Mae Miller at the Mathison property. "Nina Mae said it was like moving to a park! Nina Mae was very important to this park. She knew what Dad and Mom wanted, but Dad tended to put things off. . . . When she started paying the bills and saw the property tax, the donation to Burien happened. They became caretakers and had a wonderful four years here." Ted Mathison passed away at 95 in February, 2003.
“We missed not being able to come here after 59 years of this beautiful place. We are thrilled (and so would Mom and Dad be) with what is being done . . . We know there is much more to do, but if a tree has to come down, the groaning you will hear will be MOM! Thank you for being here!!” (Remarks of Phil Mathison at Park dedication, September 15, 2006)
The first phase of the park - a playground, paved pathway, benches, picnic tables, and landscaping - was completed in 2006. The second phase - a parking lot, plaza, restroom, picnic shelter, trail system, and community garden - is planned for 2008. King County Youth Sports Facility provided a $50,000 grant for the playground, and Starbucks Neighborhood Parks program provided a $15,000 grant.
Mathison Park is the largest of Burien’s neighborhood parks, and the first to be developed east of 1st Ave. South. The north edge of Mathison Park is two blocks south of the high point in Burien (463 feet).