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Bruce E, Parks | Obituary

Bruce E. Parks CHESTER — Bruce Edward Parks, 78, of Chester, Vermont, passed away peacefully on April 9, 2022, at home, surrounded by his wife and three children. Bruce was born to Edna Klemm Parks and Ira George Parks in Orange, New Jersey on April 23, 1943. The family lived in Maplewood, New Jersey, until Bruce was 7, when they moved to Denville, New Jersey. Bruce attended Denville schools (and later in life became a member of several Denville school groups on social media). He graduated from Morris Hills Regional and one of his main pleasures was playing trumpet and French horn in all the high school bands (band, march, he did it all). He was accepted to Fairleigh Dickinson University in Madison, New Jersey, on a music scholarship, where he continued to play horns and also served as editor of the student newspaper. He enjoyed writing and journalism and often wrote for local newspapers, including the Morristown Record and the Denville Citizen. He was college educated and often joked about doing 41 part-time jobs – ranging from driving taxis and limos to selling Christmas trees. While completing his undergraduate degree, Bruce joined the Denville Rescue Team and enjoyed serving the town. He particularly enjoyed walking in parades and frequently walked in a Smokey the Bear costume. One of his first dates with his wife, Kathryn, was at a parade dressed as Smokey, where they walked down the street hand in hand. He received his bachelor’s degree in 1965 and then completed his master’s degree in education at Newark State College/University (check what it’s called now). While living in Denville, his first job was teaching sixth grade at Denville Elementary School, which he was very fond of. Kathryn and Bruce were married on August 20, 1966 at Denville Episcopal Church. Their first child, Carolyn, was born in April 1970. Shortly after Carolyn’s birth, the family moved to Sandyston-Walpack in northern New Jersey, where Bruce enjoyed having his own section of a trout stream running through the courtyard. Their son, Evan, was born in December 1973 and their daughter, Betsy (Elizabeth), was born in April 1976. Shortly after Betsy’s birth, the family moved north to Vermont, first briefly to Ludlow, then to their house on Main Street. in Chester in the same house they own today. Bruce was a lifelong educator and spent many years as a grade 9-12 science teacher at Wilmington High School and later Okemo Mountain School and Springfield Parent-Child Center, covering topics like general science, chemistry, biology, environmental science and his favorite — meteorology. Bruce was a true weather geek: a member of the World Meteorological Society, and participated in many of their summer programs all over the United States, and even attended the World Meteorological Conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, with Kathy . He enjoyed the camaraderie of weather enthusiasts and once even participated in the Weather Channel at a conference! He was also a longtime member of the Vermont Science Teachers Association and the National Science Teachers Association and greatly enjoyed the time he spent working with other science teachers across the state and nation. Bruce was truly a naturalist who appreciated the beauty and wonders of the natural world. He was a lifetime trout angler and member of Trout Unlimited, and a lifetime member of the Audubon Society. For several years he participated in the annual Audubon Christmas Bird Count in Vermont. The family also had many bird feeders in their garden and Bruce could identify any bird. A true outgoing and outgoing family member, Bruce enjoyed meeting new people and made friends easily wherever he went. He was also very loyal and was best friends with John Bowker, whom he met in Denville when they were in third grade. The couple took many fishing trips together as young men and later, with their children and grandchildren on lakes, oceans and rivers, and brought home so many stories (probably more) that they fished. Bruce was a true community-minded man and volunteered with many organizations during his life. He was one of the founders of the Chester-Andover Family Center, along with other members of the Unitarian Universalist Church, and served on the board of directors and assisted with various duties until his retirement until that his physical ailments prevent him from contributing. He was also a board member of the Whiting Library. While in Vermont, Bruce maintained his love of music and performed often with the local band, The Chester Brass. He enjoyed summer pilgrimages to Tanglewood to hear the Boston Symphony Orchestra and other orchestral performances. We all remember attending Tanglewood as a family with lawn seats, falling asleep on blankets under the stars as the music played well into the evening. Bruce was predeceased by his parents, Ira and Edna Parks, of Denville, New Jersey; and is survived by his wife of 55 years, Kathryn “Kathy”; and her children, Carolyn Parks (John Stocker), of Soquel, California, Evan Parks, of Chester, Vermont, and Betsy Parks, of Boston, Massachusetts; and his granddaughter, Emma Cook, of San Luis Obispo, California. The family would like to thank Dr. Tim Schaeffer of Grace Cottage for his long-standing care and support over the years, and the BAYADA nursing team for their wonderful palliative home care. A memorial service to celebrate Bruce’s life will be held at Chester Universalist First Parish, where Bruce was an active member, May 21 at 1 p.m. A reception will also follow at the church. Donations can be made, in lieu of flowers, to the Chester-Andover Family Center in person or at https://www.chester-andoverfamilycenter.org/

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