Old Bennington, VT - Joseph W.R. Parks, 91, of Old Bennington, World War II Purple Heart Veteran, sometime lawyer, former owner of Prospect Ski Area and of the Bennington Bookstore, avid local historian, and author of the history of Pownal, died May 3 at the Vermont Veterans Home, where he had resided for the past two years. A longtime Bennington resident, Joe led a life well lived, pursuing many interests and gaining many friendships along the way.
Born on June 16, 1925 in St. Louis, Missouri, Joe was educated in parochial grammar schools and attended high school at Missouri Military Academy. He graduated during WWII and had already enlisted in the army. His military training entitled him to enter Officer Candidate School where he graduated in 1943 at age 18. He traveled to Europe and served our country for two years until he was wounded and taken hostage by German forces. He retired from the service for disability with the rank of First Lieutenant.
Joe's injuries entitled him to college education so upon returning to St. Louis, he received three degrees from Washington University: Business Administration (B.S.), Economics (A.B.) and.Law (J.D). He later furthered his law degree to include International Law (LL.M) at Yale University School of Law. Joe practiced law in New York City for several years.
While attending Washington University, Joe met and married June Clark. They had four children together who all survive Joe. They are: D. Anthony Parks of Prescott, Arizona, Eric Parks of Mill Valley, California, Terry Parks (wife Jane Black) of Mill Valley, California and Laurie McCulloch (husband Ron) of Phoenix, Arizona. Joe is also survived by two grandchildren of his daughter: Kimberly Goeman (husband Chris) of Goodyear, Arizona and Eric Coleman of Portland, Oregon. He is also survived by one great grandchild of his granddaughter: Jack Goeman. He is also survived by his long time companion, Dorothy Halvorsen also of Bennington.
Joe and June divorced in 1960. Joe met Emmely H. Gustaffson (Parks) of Denmark and married in 1965. The couple moved to Bennington that same year and owned and operated the Bennington Bookshop until 1972. Joe then returned to practicing law in Bennington for a few years. In 1976, he authored the Bicentennial "Pownal: A Vermont Town's Two Hundred Years and More". His love of history brought him to researching and publishing history articles at The Bennington Museum.
From 1979 to 1990, Joe and Emmely owned and operated Prospect Ski Mountain ski area in Woodford. The couple legally separated in 1995 but remained friends over the years. Emmely passed away in December of 2016 at the age of 92.
In 1991 Joe took a supervisory position as Research Librarian at the museum until 1996. Yet Joe continued to write a local history column in the Bennington Banner until 2005.
Joe also sat on the local Historical Preservation Commission and on Old Bennington's Planning Commission. He was also a zoning administrator.
SERVICES: Joe requested no services to be held.
Guestbook condolences may be made at www.maharandsonfuneralhome.net
Published by Bennington Banner on May 6, 2017.