In a previous interview with The Signal in 2016, former Castaic Lake Recreation Area Superintendent Lori Bennett described Castaic Lake as her heaven.
Four years later, Bennett, at the age of 63, died of a heart attack while kayaking in Honolulu, Hawaii on Feb. 18, a family member of Bennett confirmed Sunday.
“She had a very, very, very small family, so I believe her family were the people of Castaic Lake,” said Kathleen Fritz, who worked with Bennett at the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.
Bennett worked with the county for over 30 years and spent her last 10 years of employment as a superintendent. In that time, Bennett was able to touch the lives of many by sharing her passion for the lake, the outdoors and helping others.
When Bennett retired in 2016, she moved to Waikiki Beach in Hawaii, where she avidly kayaked.
“She was the sunrise and sunset of Castaic Lake,” said Fritz, in a Facebook post dedicated to Bennett.
At the lake, she introduced and led many youth programs such as the dragon boat team.
“There are few people in your life that you meet and there is something you really take away from meeting them,” said Lisa Ely, whose children participated on the dragon boat team. “With Lori, her attitude to appreciate things and to go after what you want is what Lori taught me.”
Fritz is currently working with the Friends of Castaic Lake to organize a public memorial to remember the late superintendent.
“I feel so privileged to have found a career I’ve loved,” Bennett previously told The Signal, after her retirement. “Being outdoors, getting to help people recreate and have fun and play, it’s been a dream come true.”