California Parks and Recreation Service Ranger Patricia Scully was remembered Wednesday as a very dedicated ranger who was “absolutely in her element,” before her life was cut short in 1976 when at 25 years old she was killed by a drunken driver while patrolling state beaches along the coast near Half Moon Bay.
Scully was inducted to the San Mateo County Peace Officer’s Memorial at a windy morning ceremony in the courtyard of the San Mateo County Center some 37 years after her death.
Speaking on Scully’s behalf at the formal ceremony, which included the San Mateo County Sheriff’s Honor Guard, a lone bagpiper and a formal flag-folding procedure, was her older brother Tom Scully, San Mateo County Sheriff Greg Munks, former sheriff and now Supervisor Don Horsley and California Parks Service Ranger Nelle Lyons, who received the Scully Scholarship in 1999.
The second female law enforcement officer ever killed in California, Scully helped carve out a woman’s role in law enforcement, being hired as a ranger only two years after the first woman was hired and just six years after women were allowed to serve in law enforcement, Nelle Lyons with the California Parks Service highlighted at today’s ceremony.
“She was confident in what she was doing in a new field for women,” Lyons said.
Lyons said Scully was truly missed by all who knew her but she also impacted those she never knew including Lyons herself, who benefited from the Scully Scholarship.
Horsley told the crowd of more than 40 people that Scully was never added to the memorial because at the time of her death, the memorial did not exist. He said it was brought to his attention and with the help of state Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, and others, they were able to ensure that Scully was recognized for her contributions.
Scully, it was remembered by brother Tom Scully, was someone that everyone in her large family of six siblings looked up to. He said she always wanted to give back and being with the parks department gave her that perfect opportunity. He said the family has honored her with a bench at Ano Nuevo State Beach and a specified portion of state Highway 1 has been named Ranger Patricia M. Scully Memorial Highway, for which the family is grateful.
In conjunction with National Police Week, each May the San Mateo County Police Chiefs and Sheriff Association conduct the annual Fallen Police Officers Memorial Ceremony at the Old Courthouse Museum Square. Scully’s name and honor will be added to the list of 27 local officers who have died in the line of duty in the county’s history. Her family, including Scully’s 96-year-old mother, will be invited to the ceremony each year.