Obituary: William Parke
Bill Parke, 75 of Steamboat Springs died at home on Monday, March 9th following a courageous battle with Amyloidosis. Born in Centralia, WA, he was the son of the late George and Margaret LeNoir Parke.
After graduating college in 1967, he moved to Aspen and became a ski patroller at Aspen Snowmass, where he patrolled for 20 years, and met his to-be-wife Kate. Avid skiers, they moved to Steamboat Springs in 1989 where they married and raised their son Adam. Bill was self-employed as a property owner and manager of a 10 unit apartment house in Steamboat from 1989-2007. He was proud to be able to offer affordable housing for locals. Bill also volunteered for the race crew each winter at Steamboat Ski Resort.
Bill was a fan of any kind of moving vehicle, whether it was cars or trucks or trains or boats, there was nothing that didn’t pique his interest. His ideal day was to trawl through boating magazines or car catalogs looking at parts that he would never need to use, just for fun. But he preferred to be hands-on, and so would be equally happy sitting on the floor in the garage cleaning the grease off of some old car part or doing work on his or his son’s bike. And if he didn’t feel like getting greasy, he’d be in the living room working on some huge, elaborate LEGO mining equipment, or building a model airplane or tugboat, depending on the mood.
And if he felt like being a little more hands-off, he’d be doing a Sudoku or a Crossword from the newspaper or a book of puzzles, or just reading something. Anything, really. Even if it was an 800-page treatise on Puget Sound tides from the early 1900’s or an operating manual for a WWII German railway gun, or the newest Stephen King novel, he’d be happy to spend an afternoon or even a full day sitting, drinking a coke, and reading a book.
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Bill loved to spend time at Puget Sound in Washington. It was his favorite place to be, followed closely by Kauai, Hawaii. In Hawaii, he got to be away from the cold and the snow, and in Washington he could look out the big bay windows and see Mt. Rainier, watch the tide go up and down, the boats go back and forth and never have to worry about shoveling. And always with a book within reach.
No drive was too long or tedious for Bill. He referred to it as “windshield time.” Every September he would drive all the way to Green River, Utah just to snag 20 or so watermelons then drive all the way back. And when his son got heavily into mountain bike racing, he’d be happy to drive to California or Maine or wherever was needed, just to be there as support. He was always his son’s biggest fan; always there to help and to push when needed and to help pick him up when he was down. Nobody could’ve asked for a better dad.
If he wasn’t inside working on some project or puzzle, or operating as his son’s support, he would be out riding bikes or skiing. Bill’s interest in the outdoors, skiing especially, is what got Adam into skiing in the first place, as he put Adam into skiing lessons first then the Winter Sports Club racing program. He knew to start Adam early. Bill’s interests often would lead to Adam having a similar interest, as they were very close, and they could talk at length about biking or skiing, or even physics or math, regardless of whether either of them fully understood what they were talking about.
Bill accepted every challenge that came into his life and did so with fortitude and dignity. He never gave up, and he inspired those around him to do the same. Before retiring, he would volunteer to come into his son’s classroom to help students with math, one of his passions, just for the fun of doing it.
He is survived by his wife Kate, son Adam, brother Tom Parke and partner Lubbie O’Conner, sister Sue Parke and husband Fred Fagerness, brother-in-law Andy Shindler, brother-in-law Dan Smith and wife Michelle, brother-in-law Pat Smith and wife Debbie, nieces, nephews and cousins. He was preceded in death by sisters Roberta Shindler and Sally Parke.
A special thanks to the Hospice Team with Northwest Colorado Health and the Jan Bishop Cancer Center for their kindness, compassion and support. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date.
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