Services for Roy Park Saturday, June 2...
May 26, 2007
will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 2 at the Rainier Cemetery off
Stringtown Road near Eatonville. Pastor Don Litzer of Bethany
Lutheran Church will officiate. After the service friends of Roy
Park's will gather at the Eatonville Eagles Hall for a reception and
to celebrate his unique life. Arrangements by Fir Lane Funeral Home.
Honors for Roy Park - Murdered Veteran
(photo by Bob Walter)
Roy Park had been a member of the American Legion Honor Guard for
about six years. He was always there during the Memorial Day ceremonies
to help fire the twenty-one gun salute to fallen vets. This year
Park's place in the firing line-up was taken by the homemade honey
sign which used to point to his home. The other members of the honor
guard stood beside the sign and the upside down rifle with Park's
American Legion hat on the its stock.
Were Honored Along With Murder Victim Roy Park...
May 28, 2007 - by Dixie A. Walter: The ten-minute Memorial Day service
was held at the Eatonville Cemetery Memorial Day. Veterans of all
wars were honored by Jody Johnson, Commander of Post 148 in
Eatonville - to see the text of the American Legion's eulogy please go
Honors Veterans .
A tribute to beekeeper Roy Park, "The
Honey Man," was part of the ceremony. He was murdered, beaten beyond
recognition, and his body left on his property near Rapjohn Lake. The
tragedy of Roy Park wasn't discovered until May 16 when an alert mail
carrier noticed his mail had not been picked up for awhile.
Officials estimated he had been killed two
or three days earlier, or as some reports state, three to four days earlier.
The Sunday before his body was discovered was Mother's Day. Park was a
member of the local American Legion. Although Commander Johnson said
it wasn't clear yet which branch of the military Park served in.
However, another close friend maintains Park was in the Army.
The 81-year-old murdered man had "no
family or children" according to Lloyd Knesal, executor of Park's
will. Knesal said Park's bee hives would be sold, and that he had
a lot of them around the area, even going up-the-line toward Mount
Rainier. On Monday, Knesal didn't know exactly how many hives would be
available to sell.
KIRO-TV also attended the Eatonville
Memorial Day ceremonies. When Kevin McCarty, the reporter who has
been covering the unsolved murder, told ENN one of the reasons he and
his cameraman were there was because of the mystery surrounding his
death and the way this community has pulled together to make sure he
has a proper burial.
Several local people had said they would
claim his body if no one else did. In the end John and Tammi Bratholm
took the responsibility. John Bratholm said there has been
$1,300 donated toward Park's funeral service. He explained that Brad
Cole, a fellow beekeeper, was donating a" hand made coffin,"
Dick Taylor has donated a plot at the small Rainier cemetery off
Stringtown Road where the honey man had requested to be buried
and the Eatonville Eagles are donating their hall for a reception
following the funeral.
Bethany Lutheran Pastor Don Litzer will
officiate at the graveside services to be held Saturday, June 2.
Honor Guard in
30, 2005 photo by Bob Walter)
Two years ago patriot Roy Park, second from left, was a member of the
Eatonville American Legion's Honor
to help honor
veterans who had fallen. Park had been participating for six years
before his tragic, as yet, unsolved vicious murder.
and Angered, by Murder of
"The Honey Man"
was opened at Key Bank by Susie Robinson for donations to help with a
memorial service and reward.
of a Savage Crime...
by Bob Walter)
Roy Park's residence in the 37900
block of 58th Avenue Court East near Rapjohn Lake..
May 20, 2007 - by
Dixie A. Walter: Everyone who knew Roy Park is bewildered and outraged
at the death of the 81-year-old
beekeeper. According to reports from authorities, the friendly local
man had been dead for two to three days before his body was
discovered. No official cause of death has been announced yet. His
death has been called "brutal, vicious and savage."
An alert, and concerned, rural mail
carrier noticed Roy's mail had been accumulating for a few days and alerted
the police. According to friends of his the elderly man
"religiously" picked up his mail. Police searching the
property found "drag marks and blood" leading away from the
building he lived in. Following this trail they discovered the man's
remains in a ditch covered with brush. His body was found Wednesday
morning May 16.
Susie Robinson, owner of Mountain View
Cafe said, "They beat him to death and threw him away like garbage."
Susie, a cancer survivor, knew the murder victim well and told of his
kindness when she was diagnosed with cancer but had no medical
insurance. Susie explained how Roy donated six months of his proceeds
from honey sales to help her with medical costs. He was a man of
meager means and Susie was deeply touched by his gesture.
"Yes, he was a character," Susie
said, "but he was our character." Many residents of
this community expressed their affection for the beekeeper and
their horror at his death. Lorine Carroll, a neighbor, voiced her
feelings, "We don't know who would do such a thing, or what
anyone could even have been looking for. He was such a sweet old guy.
Never bothered anyone. Always available to catch a swarm of menacing
bees. Loved to chat if you had the time. Who wouldn't love a guy like
that? I only hope they catch whoever did this and they pay a very high
price for it."
Lorine noted that Roy had come to her
property a couple of times to collect bee swarms and he could tell
just by looking they weren't his bees. Roy was the person to
call if you found yourself with thousands of bees in your yard.
Recently ENN did a story about a bee swarm. Roy was called by the
Eatonville resident who had the swarm in one of his trees. However,
the bees had left the property before Roy could get them.
A close friend of the murder victim said
Roy spent a lot of time, hours a day, at his computer and read many newspapers
via the Internet. This friend declined to be named only because he
said, several times, "I'm scared. The same thing could happen to
me." The man had known Roy over twenty-five years and said Roy
had lived on the same piece of property (ten acres according the Piece
County Assessor Web site) for about twenty-eight years. He didn't have
a weapon, although at one time he did have a firearm, but it was
stolen a few years ago and not replaced.
Remembrances of Lilacs...
On Saturday someone who cared had put two nosegays of white lilacs
by Roy Park's honey farm sign. The crime tapes were gone except
for a scrap left by the trailer hitch. Authorities estimated he had
been dead two or three days when his remains were found Wednesday
morning. If that is the case, he may have been murdered on Mother's
Several people have been concerned about
the fate of Roy's bees. One former beekeeper who talked to ENN said
they would take care of themselves. Friends said he had no other
Roy's close friends said he had never married. The victim's old
friend, who doesn't want to be identified, told ENN Roy had come
to the Eatonville area from Michigan and thought there might be a few
family members still living there. He said Roy had served in the Army,
and at one time he had worked for the railroad in Michigan loading
ties onto railroad cars.. Roy told his Eatonville friend he liked that
Loading rail road ties requires strength
and Roy appeared to be a robust man. Susie Robinson said he had big
hands and she didn't believe he would "go down without a
fight." This case seems to typify the quintessential
There are conflicting stories about his
nationality. Some said he was Native American, but his close friend said
that wasn't true. Roy did wear his gray hair in a ponytail and often
wore a bandanna.
The aged victim canned a lot of his own
food, and even made his own ketchup, in an effort to make ends
meet. He used the food bank when necessary and tended to
his bees. Several sources have said that
Roy didn't have as many bees as he used to and bought honey by bulk
from another keeper. According to some of those who knew him, Roy
would then sell it under his label. He sold honey in a number of
Eatonville businesses including the Mountain Community Co-op, where it
was said he came in twice a month on Thursdays, like clockwork, to
deliver his wares. But last Thursday The Honey Man did not
arrive; Channel 13 came to cover the story of his killing instead.
There are many theories floating
about the area as to how, and why, this terrible crime was committed
and upon such an elderly person. A year or so ago Roy told
friends he thought someone was snooping around his property when he
was gone, and thought he knew who it might be. At that time he
installed surveillance cameras. Law enforcement officials have said
nothing was recorded on the cameras.
Some conjecture The Honey Man may
have come home from one of his trips to town and caught someone on his
place. Others have wondered if a person or person(s) may have taken a
wrong turn looking for a meth seller. There are meth labs out in the
woods around the Eatonville area. Another theory concerns a land
dispute from long, long ago when a man allegedly threatened to kill
Roy. This theory accounts for the story circulating that the man who
allegedly threatened Roy's life had just been released from prison a
week or so prior to his death.
Another story, which has some
basis in fact, is that Roy was threatening to file a lawsuit against
Dr. Tom Van Eaton. Roy showed the legal documents to friends. Dr.
Van Eaton had befriended Roy a long time ago, helped him out medically
and assisted Roy in getting benefits due him. Many years ago Dr. Van
Eaton agreed to pay off Roy's debts in exchange for his land, with the
provision he could stay there the rest of his life.. This was all done
legally and sources say the lawsuit was pointless. It's doubtful the
suit was ever filed, as nothing shows up on the Pierce County Superior
No one can understand what possible
motive could prompt someone to beat to death an old man with very little
to his name. Robbery was ruled out as a motive; he really had nothing
of value to steal. Everyone who knew him was very fond of the
beekeeper, saying he was gentle and kind, so they can't conceive of
him having an enemy who wanted him dead.
Homicide Detective Bruce Larson with
the Pierce County Sheriff's Department interviewed some local residents
searching for answers. According to Susie Robinson, Detective Larson
told her the "case is solvable." Meanwhile friends of The
Honey Man are organizing to work out details of a memorial service.
Presently no firm plans have yet been made
No one is sure, at this time, who
will receive his remains or if a funeral will be held here. Evidently,
in the past, Roy had told some friends he wished to be buried in
the old pioneer cemetery off Stringtown Road. All of Roy's friends
echo Lorine Carroll when she says, "I hope Roy gets a nice
Road to a Malevolent
by Bob Walter)
Someone turned down this country road and drove about a third of a
mile until they came to Roy Park's cluttered residence. Whether
the killer intended to find The Honey Man, or whether it was just a
tragic mistaken wrong turn, we don't yet know. It is impossible for
Roy's local friends to imagine how anyone could have such malice
toward an old man with very little material wealth. Many repeated the
same phrase, "No one should die like that." Friends are
waiting for the results of an autopsy. So far all that is known for
certain is that the elderly victim died as a result of "homicidal
There is a $1,000 reward for information
leading to his killer. KIRO TV Crime Stoppers listed Roy's murder
as the Crime of the Week: Tacoma/Pierce
County Crime Stoppers Online
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