Patricia “Pat” Parks, beloved: wife, mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, left this life on Tuesday, January 16, 2018, at the Hiawatha Hospital, with her three children by her side. Pat was born on November 25, 1927, to Anthony and Geneva Palmer Dannecker, on their family farm near Rulo, Nebraska, the third of six daughters. She grew up in Rulo, attending school there and graduating at 16, with the Rulo High class of 1944. After graduation, she attended a summer session at Peru State and earned a teaching certificate.
That fall, she began her first and last teaching assignment, which lasted only a few months. Her stories of those few months were so funny and included students that were older than her; a fire she may (or may not) have started by overloading the woodstove, but also put out, with minimal damage! The last straw for her teaching career, didn’t come in the school house-it came when the family she stayed with moved the grandmother into the same room and bed as her. She called her daddy and he came and got her and she never looked back or taught again.
She moved to Lincoln then and worked at an ammunitions plant during the height of World War II and was proud to have been a part of the war effort. In the summer of 1945, while in Hiawatha with a friend, she met the love of her life, Robert “Bob” Parks, who was home on leave from the Army and cruising Oregon Street with friends. A picnic and watermelon the at the Hiawatha Lake started their love affair that would last almost 73 years. Pat and Bob were married at the Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Rulo, on March 5, 1946. Except for a few years in Iowa, they lived their entire married lives in Hiawatha. Pat was a homemaker for many years while raising their children and was a den mother, Girl Scout leader and active in all their activities. Pat and Bob were long time members of St. Ann’s Catholic Church, serving in many roles and their faith was very important to both of them.
Pat was Hiawatha’s first Welcome Wagon Lady and loved meeting and introducing new people to Hiawatha and sharing her love for the community. In 1980 with friends, Bill and Marilyn Hargis, Bob and Pat opened the first Best Western in Hiawatha and built a thriving restaurant and lodge and made many friends along the way. She was outgoing and never knew a stranger, nor was she afraid to get involved and help where needed. She was the long-time president of Mount Hope Cemetery and took its upkeep and beauty very seriously and loved to share the story of the Davis Memorial.
She contributed greatly to the cemetery including the fence and flag pole projects and Baby Land, for families who lose infants, something she and Bob had experienced. She was the very proud mother of Tim (Rhonda) of Lawrence, Nancy (Rusty) Wright of Hiawatha, and Mark (Marinela) of Olathe.
She loved her grandchildren and was so proud of all they did—Andrew Parks, Lawrence, Quinn and Abbey Wright, LaVista, Tiffany Wright of Bozeman, MT, Toby Wright, Chicago, IL, Mitchell Wright, Hiawatha; Andew Mermer, Overland Park, Jack and Kaiti Parks, Olathe, Caden and William Wright, Lavista. She is also survived by her sisters, Susan Chamberlain, Emporia and Lenalee Johnson of Falls City. and many loved nieces and nephews.
She was preceded in death by her son Phillip Joseph; her grandson Zachary Parks, parents, sisters, Mary Elizabeth Sevens, Mildred Campbell and Alyce Darveaux. Pat and Bob and the love they shared was great and one that could be seen by all who knew them. They loved to entertain and had so many wonderful friends. The fun that they had brings smiles to all of us who were lucky enough to have grown up with parents from this generation, who knew how to work and play and laugh. She always loved and welcomed drop-in company and many would leave with one of her handmade dishcloths or hangers. She gave her best always and expected the same from those around her.
We miss her but as she left us, we knew it was for a love far greater than ours and we know she is with the Lord and she and dad are together again, after four months apart, and that is the greatest joy she could have been given. Friends may call at Chapel Oaks Funeral Home, Hiawatha after 10 a.m. Sunday where the parish rosary will be recited at 4 p.m., followed by the family visiting with friends until 6 p.m.
A Celebration of Life mass will be held 10 a.m. Monday, January 22, at St. Ann Catholic Church, with Father Dan Gardner as the Celebrant. Cremation will follow services with private family inurnment at Mt Hope Cemetery, this spring. Memorial contributions are suggested to St. Ann Catholic Church which may be sent in care of the funeral home, 124 S 7th St., 66434.