James L. Parks Jr.(1941 - 2013)

James L. Parks, Jr. 1941 - 2013 Jim Parks, father, grandfather, brother, uncle, friend, food critic, natty dresser, accomplished traveler, and fish rights activist, died on June 26. Jim never hesitated to give his opinion about food, particularly food ordered by his dining companions. He despised black beans, chicken breast, and most herbs and spices. But he enjoyed his Tuesday tuna fish sandwich with his son, Ian. He also loved taking his grandchildren--Justin, Brandon, Anika, and Holly--out to eat for their birthdays to eat donuts and fluffy eggs. Dogs loved Jim. Jim loved cats. He loved folk music but hated Bob Dylan's voice. Jim was an aspiring meteorologist. He excelled at growing oranges in his backyard, building furniture, fixing sprinklers, living within his means, bandaging scraped knees, taking long summer vacations, painting seascapes, removing fish hooks from fingers, and inspiring future scientists. He taught algebra, chemistry, and physics at Arvin High and North High in Bakersfield. After retirement, Jim never wore a closed-toe shoe willingly ever again. Jim traveled extensively--as long as there was a trout stream within 5 miles. He grew up in trout streams in Colorado. He raised his children in the streams in the Sierras. He never stopped taking his daughter, Robin, on fishing vacations. Jim loved fishing with friends and family. Jim's love of his life was his wife, Valera. They were two souls intertwined. Their ashes will be scattered together throughout the West--in streams that he loved to fish and on stream banks where she loved to read books and watch him. The family asks that in lieu of flowers you make a donation to the Nature Conservancy. Jim wanted his children and his grandchildren to have access to the wild lands that he loved. In honor of Jim, pack a tuna fish sandwich for lunch, go fly-fishing, and catch-and-release wild trout. www.bakersfield.com/obits

Published in Bakersfield Californian on July 27, 2013