Roswitha Parks, 72, of Joseph came to Wallowa County eight years ago when she and her husband, David, moved back to David’s hometown after retirement.
David is the son of Maxine and Bill Parks of Joseph.
Since arriving, Roswitha has been a spark in the community. She enjoys lunching at the Community Connection, and the table at which she is sitting is easy to locate because of all of the laughter.
She was raised in Munich, Germany, and came to the states in her early 20s. She had wanted to immigrate for some time, but once she was here (in Bend where she had friends), she found assimilation much more difficult than she anticipated. American culture was different, she missed German food, and she was homesick. But she says she was “too stubborn and refused to call it quits.” Now, 40 years later, she is thoroughly American.
She worked two jobs in Bend, and after five years earned her citizenship.
She then went to work for the U.S. Forest Service as an archaeological tech, a rangeland tech and a recreation tech. She was stationed in John Day and La Grande.
She met David in La Grande when he worked for ODOT as a right-of-way agent and the couple married in 1985. They have no children.
Roswitha works part-time at Heidi’s Towne Shoppe in Joseph, a job she enjoys. The rest of her time is spent taking care of David, who is in poor health.
She sits on the board of Community Connection and is chair for the organization’s Advisory Council. David is a Vietnam vet and Roswitha is a member of the VFW Auxiliary.
Q. What attracted you to Wallowa County –– other than it was David’s home territory?
A. I was almost ready to move three days after we got here because the wind blew so hard down Hurricane Creek. The Realtor had said the wind only blew three or four times a year. But I liked it right away because it was beautiful, the people are nice, and it was a small community. I came from a fairly large community, and that’s fun when you’re young. When you are older, you like it more quiet.
Q. What is your favorite pastime?
A. Gardening. It’s how I relax. I have a big beautiful yard, and I’m always working in my yard. I used to have a big garden, too, before David became ill. I especially liked to grow all different kinds of lettuce. I used to grow six or seven varieties. I love the look of them all, and I have chickens, and they love the lettuce too. My favorite flowers are carnations because of the smell.
Q. Can you recommend a book for us?
A. I really liked “The Target” by David Baldacci. I love mysteries of all kinds: British mysteries or spy mysteries. I don’t like romances because they always end the same way. I watch Mystery on PBS. I watch a lot of PBS. I also love watching “Doc Martin” on PBS.