William “Bill” Edward Parks, 94, passed away peacefully on Aug. 22, 2015, due to complications of a sudden stroke. He was a resident at Wallowa Valley Assisted Living in Enterprise for approximately two years, having moved to the area in 2006.
He was born William Martin Kennoy in Pittsburgh, Pa., on May 18, 1921 to Francis Joseph Kennoy and Erma Marie Parks-Kennoy. Following the death of his mother, he and his three siblings were adopted by, and raised in the Southern California area by his maternal grandmother, Eleanor Brown Parks. His brother, Chester “Buster” Lloyd Kennoy Parks, and sisters, Betty Jane Kennoy Parks-Jones and Emma (Pat) Eleanor Kennoy Parks-Downey have all preceded him in death. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Marilyn (Rusty) Parks, of Enterprise, his five children, David Parks of Noel, Mo., Cynthia (Cindi) Parks of Tulsa, Okla., Jonathan and Stephen Parks of Joseph, Timothy Parks of Enterprise, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
After his proud WWII service in the US Navy, he graduated from La Sierra College in Arlington, Calif., where he met, courted, and married Marilyn Jean Haley Russ on June 12, 1952. He was a teacher by profession, with an emphasis on Special Education towards the end of his teaching career, having taught school in numerous states including California, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico, Washington, Hawaii, and Missouri. He loved moving his family to different areas of the country to broaden their horizons, thusly engraining in his children the value and appreciation for people from all walks of life, religions, ethnic backgrounds, and lifestyles. In his younger days, he and his brother Buster played competitive doubles tennis and dreamed of going pro after the war, an unrealized goal. He and the family enjoyed playing tennis and going snow skiing. In the three years the family spent in Hawaii, he enjoyed scuba diving, stopping for and visiting with Peace Corps volunteers hitch-hiking to the beach, teaching his children to body surf and scouring the “gullies” for bananas, coconuts, guavas, mangoes and breadfruit. Having served as a radioman in the Navy, he was a life-long ham radio operator and enjoyed talking with other operators, not only in his area, but around the world. He was a firm believer in the original teachings of the Seventh-Day Adventist Church and followed a vegan diet for 50+ years.
He loved to tell jokes and show you that he was still fit enough to do a little tap dance. He made a friend of a local gray squirrel, who would eat peanuts off his shoulder, and made it a mission to rid the yard of gophers and thistles. He loved to go to the lake with his wife and feed the chipmunks on Sabbath, and has been known to get down on all fours and butt heads with pet goats. He enjoyed the TV show “Walker, Texas Ranger” and spent hours watching WWII movies, especially those about the attack on Pearl Harbor, where he was not only stationed, but where he lost his only brother.
Bill has requested cremation and prefers that there be no public service. A private memorial will be held by immediate family at a time to be determined. Any donations in his name can be made to a Veterans’ charity of choice.