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University Place Man Trying To Preserve Lakewood School's Memory, One Brick At A Time

Barry Crust, who now lives in University Place, wants to sell customized bricks from the former Hudtloff Middle School building - which is being torn down - to raise money for the school.

Barry Crust is as much a part of Hudtloff Middle School's heritage as the bricks that compose the building.

The University Place man taught PE there for 30 years. He coached baseball, wrestling, football and girls fastpitch for 43 years.

Crust, 67, was also a student at the Lakewood school. In fact, he was part of the inaugural class of students who went to Hudtloff when it first moved into its old building - back in 1957.

Now Crust hopes to use part of the old building - literally - to preserve Hudtloff's history.

Earlier this month, Hudtloff students moved into their new building, which is equipped with new athletic fields, new classrooms and that new-school smell. Their old building - the one Crust attended in 1957 - is in the process of being torn down.

For Crust and others who made memories at there, losing the old school is bittersweet. But its demolition also gave him an idea for a fund-raiser.

"Back in those days, Hudtloff was the only junior high school," he told Patch. "So I thought it would be kind of a unique deal if we could sell some of the used brick."

"It means so much to me, because I started in the new building at Hudloff. Hudtloff always meant so much to me."

That's right, Coach Barry - who was associated one way or another with the school for 46 years - couldn't help but try and do something great for Hudtloff, even in the retirement.

Crust's mission seems simple and relatively inexpensive, but its sentimental value is priceless to former Hudtloff students. Basically, he got the Clover Park School District to donate some 200 bricks from the old building, with a promise of more if needed.

Crust, working with an engraver from California, is paying to have commemorative plaques installed on each piece: "Brick of Remembrance," they'll read.

Each brick will honor Hudtloff Junior High/Middle School, as well as its mascots between 1957 and 2012, the Indians/Hurricanes.

For Crust, the effort is one of fond memories and school pride. He plans to sell each brick for $20 each, and the money will help fund a project - "something unique and artsy," in his words - for the school.

He's gotten plenty of interest. The Clover Park High grad will be celebrating his 50th high school reunion this summer, and he's expecting to make a big sales pitch at the time.

But he also wants to extend the offer to other Hudtloff alumni. The reason? If they're anything like him, then they'll know that this effort is about more than a pile of old bricks.

"It’s just a special place to me," he says. "Being retired now, I just have time to do something like this and give back a little bit."

If you're interested in purchasing a brick, contact Crust at 253-273-0953 or Basa28@comcast.net. They should be available later this month or early Feburary.

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