Mr. Joske died Sunday after suffering from prostate cancer.
Mr. Joske, who left county government in 1983 to set up an eyeglass business in Novato, was widely regarded as one of the most talented administrators of the era.
"He is one of our most important department heads ... one of the principal architects of the Open Space District," Supervisor Gary Giacomini said at the time. "He will be terribly missed," the late Gloria Duncan, then head of the Marin Conservation League, observed about his departure from county government. "He was a one-of-a-kind person."
Mr. Joske, who worked as chief of parks and planning for Los Angeles County before taking the $14,000-a-year top parks job at Marin Civic Center in 1966, promptly scrapped a parks master plan that failed to provide for recreational hubs near population centers along Highway 101.
He launched Stafford Lake, McInnis, McNears Beach and Bay Front parks, talked the state into acquiring China Camp and Rancho Olompali, urged acquisition of 6,000 acres on Mount Tamalpais, and promoted the Open Space District. He boosted a growing system of bicycle, riding and hiking trails, as well as preservation of Bolinas Lagoon.Mr. Joske moved the county fair from the Marin Art & Garden Center in Ross to the Civic Center grounds during a storied career in which he also headed Marin Center operations. The outspoken parks advocate fought back plans in 1973 to merge his department with the planning and public works departments, calling the efficiency proposal by County Administrator John Barrows "a step backward."
Barrows this week recalled Mr. Joske as an administrator who performed well, doing "a good job" with a focus on preserving parkland. "He was certainly dedicated to the county park system, improving and adding to it where he could," Barrows said.
Mr. Joske was born in Germany, the son of a Jewish lawyer, and fled to France with his family to avoid Nazi persecution. He wandered Europe as a refugee after being separated from his family for a time, then worked as an estate gardener and fruit farm manager. He served in both the French and U.S. armies and attended college in France, New York and California, earning a degree in horticulture and landscape architecture. He was a landscape construction foreman before joining the Los Angeles County engineer's office in 1956.
He lived in Novato for many years, and moved to the city of Sonoma two decades ago, where he built a family home on an acre lot. He traveled and was an active member of the Petanque Club in recent years.
He is survived by his wife of 54 years, Maryse, of Sonoma; two sons, Mark, of Davis, and Alain, of Rohnert Park; a daughter, Marianne, of Sonoma; five grandchildren and a great grandchild.
Plans for a celebration of his life in July are pending. For more information, query firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donations in his memory may be made to the open space districts in Marin or Sonoma counties.
Pierre was also a great friend of many of the members of La Pétanque Marinière and was the person responsible for the county granting conservatorship to our newly formed club in 1972 for the land on which our beautiful courts are located. He was a North West Regional counselor for the FPUSA and one of the Founders of The Valley of the Moon Pétanque Club in Sonoma.
An interview with Pierre Joske, the first general manager of the Marin County Open Space District; hosted by Martin Rosen, former president of the Trust for Public Land can be seen by clicking on the following links: