‘I think she’d be very pleased’
“Nanda leaves a tremendous legacy that will continue to resonate not only within the walls of her school, but also within the minds of students, parents, teachers, and alumni throughout her career.”
That statement was included in Brownwood Mayor Stephen Haynes’ recommendation that the pavilion at Mayes Park be named in honor of of Nanda Wilbourn, who died last year at the age of 64.
Mayes Park is next to East Elementary School, the school that Wilbourn loved and served as its principal from 2009 to 2019.
The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board voted unanimously Wednesday to recommend naming the pavilion the Nanda Wilbourn Family Pavilion. The recommendation will go before the Brownwood City Council Tuesday for final approval.
“I think this is fantastic,” City of Brownwood Parks and Recreation director David Withers said at the advisory board meeting, held at the Adams Street Community Center.
Board members and Wilbourn’s husband, Joey, and the Wilbourn’s son, Josh, 23, who were present, had been provided with a photo of the pavilion. The photo included a rendering of artwork designed by Jonathan Dunlap of ASAP Creative Arts superimposed on the structure.
“I just asked him to draw up two or three ideas and this is the one we went with,” Joey Wilbourn said. “We kind of liked how it’s a little bit playful, kind of a Sesame Street kind of vibe.”
When asked his reaction on the pavilion being named after his wife, Wilbourn said, “Obviously I’m very grateful. I think it’s an appropriate way for her memory to be honored. I really appreciated Mayor Haynes making the suggestion.
“I think she’d be very pleased that there’s something right next to East that bears her name.”
Josh Wilbourn said, “It’s cool for me. You don’t see a lot women with names on buildings around Brownwood. I think it’s cool to see my mom made that much difference in a man’s world. Also I love that it’s right next to the skate bark because I signed the petitions that helped get that skate park in place.
“My mom might not have necessarily liked me skateboarding, but whenever it got built there, she would tell me ‘there’s this kid down here you. You should come meet him. He’s really good.’ It was something that she became supportive of and for me that’s cool personally.”
The Wilbourns have an older son, Caleb, who was not present.
In his recommendation letter, Haynes described Nanda Wilbourn as “an enthusiastic and devoted educator throughout her years where she cultivated an environment for both learning and teaching.
“She also set an excellent example to colleagues, teachers, and administrators alike, inspiring them all with her tireless advocacy for the best interests of the students and the future of BISD,” Haynes wrote.