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Dr. James F. ParkDr. James F. Park, 78, of Everett, died January 8, 2013, at Providence Regional Medical Center in Everett.
He was born in Bellefontaine, OH on June 4, 1934, the son of the late Franklyn Albert and Lola Mae Park.
Dr. Park moved to Richland in 1961 with his wife, Joanne, and his daughter, Jill after graduating from the Ohio State University School of Veterinary Medicine. He was recruited to work in the Biology Department of the General Electric Company's Hanford Laboratories with scientists doing research on the potential health effects of inhaling radioactive materials. One of his first contributions was to develop the first specific pathogen-free beagle colony for health effects research in radiation biology. As the years passed, he was the principle investigator or co-investigator on many lifespan dose-related effects studies for various agents. He was a major participant in the first studies demonstrating that inhaled plutonium-238 oxide is much more soluble in the lungs than plutonium-239 oxide. This is one of the seminal pieces of work in the field and was a significant contribution to the safe use of plutonium-238 as a power source in U.S. space missions. He became the Associate Department Manager of the Battelle/PNL Biology and Chemistry Department where he led a research team of outstanding scientists who did some of the pioneering work on health effects of cigarette smoke, high voltage electric power lines, and solvent refined coal to name a few.
His colleagues have characterized him as "an outstanding scientist who never settled for less than the highest quality achievable," "an outstanding veterinarian who ensured the highest standards of humane and ethical care for our experimental animals," "a mentor and professional inspiration," "a rare even handed leader during tough times," and "a good friend, valued colleague and superior scientific collaborator."
Dr. Park's first wife passed away in 1977. He was also formerly married to Cheryl Park beginning in 1981, and they enjoyed many happy years together. In 1993 he suffered a stroke that left him disabled and he was forced to retire earlier than he would have wanted. He weathered through very serious health challenges for so many years that amazed his friends and family and he demonstrated a resiliency and courage not found in many people.
In the early years of Dr. Park's retirement, he attended technical communications classes at Seattle Central Community College. He was also involved with the Washington State University Cooperative Extension and earned a certificate as a Volunteer Livestock Advisor. Dr. Park participated in the on-site religious services at his retirement community, Garden Court of Everett. He served one year on the resident's council. He read aloud to the vision impaired residents. He shared with his family that he found that service in particular very rewarding for him. He renewed his past skills at playing bridge and shooting pool. He would often greet people by letting them know he had a joke for them.
He enjoyed planting flowers in the resident's above-ground garden boxes. He was an avid Ohio State Buckeye football fan. He always made a point to know the schedule for the televised games. He enjoyed attending his grandchildren's sporting events and graduations.
Dr. Park was preceded in death by his parents; his first wife, Phyllis Joanne Park; and his grandson, Patrick Fraley.
He is survived by his brother, Larry (Judy) Park of Bellefontaine, OH; daughter, Jill Fraley of Mill Creek, WA; son, Greg (Melissa) of Bakersfield, CA; daughter, Janet Park of Richland, WA; son, Ken Park of White Salmon, WA; and step-daughter, Andrea Welvaert of White Salmon, WA. He is also survived by five grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions can be made to Pet Partners, formerly Delta Society, www.petpartners.org or The Ohio State University College of Veterinary Medicine, www.giveto.OSU.edu, Fund Number: 302404.
Published in The Herald (Everett) on Jan. 19, 2013