Raymond D. Parks

Family-Placed Death Notice

PARKS, Raymond D. RAYMOND D. PARKS Raymond D. Parks, 96, passed away Sunday, June 20, 2010 at home in Atlanta. He was born in Dawson County, GA on June 5, 1914. Raymond was the oldest of 16 children and at the age of 14 he left Dawson County for Atlanta. He was a born business man, buying an uncle's Hemphill Service Station and Northside Auto Service by the age of 19. Over the next 70 years, Raymond multiplied those early businesses into a successful empire in real estate, convenient marts, and vending machines. If you played a pinball machine, dropped a coin in a jukebox, or bought cigarettes from a machine, you had just dealt with Raymond Parks. Raymond continued his business in Northwest Atlanta to become a well-known leader and an honorary mayor of his part of town. Serving his country during the World War II, he was part of the 99th Infantry Division during the Battle of the Bulge and was honored for bravery on the battlefield. During his life, Raymond's favorite pastime was auto racing which later turned into a successful career. It all started with a win at the very first race at Lakewood Speedway and continued through the formation of NASCAR in 1947. Raymond won the first NASCAR race and first NASCAR Championship in 1948, and the first strictly stockcar championship which is today's cup series. Raymond's friendship with NASCAR founder, Wm. "Big Bill" France, has been recognized as essential to the birth of the sport. Raymond was the last survivor of the famous Formation Meeting at the Stream Line Motel in Daytona in 1947. Recently, Raymond was honored by NASCAR at the opening of the new NASCAR Hall Of Fame and the 2009 running of the Daytona 500. In later years, Raymond was inducted into the prestigious "International Motor Sports Hall Of Fame" in 2009 as well as the Georgia Racing Hall of Fame in 1999. Known for his benevolence, caring and kindness, Raymond signed autographs and gave interviews until recently. Raymond was preceded in death by his son, Raymond E. Parks, and his sister, Ruby Parks Smith. He is survived by his wife, Violet Parsons Parks; his grandchildren: Virginia F. (Keith) Wells, Patricia P. (Douglas) DePottey, and Raymond D. (Barbara) Parks; his stepson, Steven M. White; his foster child, Brett Allen; his sisters: Lucile Parks Shirley, Aileen Parks Wright, Louise Parks (Marion) Shirley, Mary Parks Law, Corene Parks (Lou) Heard, Lorene Parks Jameson, Jr., Genevieve Parks (Bill) Fletcher, Gertie Parks (C.D.) Bell, Sally Parks (Arnold) Thomas, and Betty Parks (Jack) Ewer; and his brothers: Walter Frank (Shirley) Parks, Virgil (Penny) Parks, and John (Mary) Parks. Funeral services will be held at Peachtree Christian Church on Wednesday, the twenty-third day of June at eleven o'clock in the morning with an entombment at Arlington Memorial Park Mausoleum following the service. In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to: Victory Junction Gang, 4500 Adam's Way, Randleman, NC 27317.

Published in The Atlanta Journal-Constitution from June 21 to June 23, 2010