Kenneth Edward Parks was born on Aug. 18, 1929, to Aldrath and Edward Parks in Presho, S.D., and passed away from lung cancer Nov. 3, 2011.
He grew up in Presho, and was the oldest of the four Parks children. After spending his childhood in the "Dirty '30s" and seeing family and friends survive World War II, he graduated from Presho High School in 1947 and helped his dad with Parks Custom Combining, which shaped his future.
After graduation, he also worked in his father's mechanics shop, Parks Automotive. In 1959, he suffered the loss of his younger brother, Dick, to a traffic accident.
When Kenny was 21 years old, he was called to serve his country in the Korean War for two years, working as a truck and tank mechanic. Upon his return to the United States, he attended Black Hills State Teacher's College and graduated in May of 1959.
In September of 1959, he started teaching at Mountain Home High School.
He and Betty Cropsey were married in Presho, S.D., on Dec. 27, 1959, and they moved to Mountain Home, intending to stay there for two years.
He taught at MHHS for one year and then transferred to Mountain Home Air Force Base and taught 6th-grade for several years. When the base junior high was built, he transferred there and spent the rest of his career teaching his passion, industrial arts.
Kenny and Betty were blessed with three children, Rosa Lynn, Kenda and Ricky, but suffered the tragic loss of Rosa Lynn to an unknown illness in 1972.
When Kenny wasn't teaching, he spent countless hours doing volunteer work at the Elks Lodge as a member of the board of trustees and being a Steak Night cook. He also loved producing beautiful artwork, tooling leather, turning wooden goblets and bowls on the turning lathe, making beautiful woodwork pieces and tinkering with engines and machinery of all shapes and sizes.
In the winter months, he and his family could be found socializing with a wonderful group of well-traveled teachers who were called "The Good Times Gang." In the summer months, he and his family would travel to northern Canada to go fishing before returning to South Dakota to do custom harvesting together with his father with Parks Custom Combining. When Kenda and Ricky were old enough, they would run combines alongside their father, along with eight of Kenny's nephews, while Betty drove a grain truck, which made harvesting a true family business that created a lot of wonderful memories.
Kenny was a charter member, Past Exalter Ruler and lifetime member of the Mountain Home Elks Lodge #2276. He was a 59-year member of the Presho Butrick American Legion Post. He was a lifetime member of the United Methodist Church in Presho, S.D. He was a lifetime member of the National Education Association.
He held a deep love of family, fishing, camping, woodworking, traveling, helping others and being outdoors on his beloved farm in South Dakota.
Kenny is survived by his wife of 52 years, Betty, as well as Kenda and Geoff Schroeder, Rick and Mariah Parks, his sisters, Bonnie Diehm and Peggy (John) Petersen, six grandchildren, one great-grandchild on the way, and a wonderful, large, loving extended family, as well as two very special niece-in-laws, Rose Comp, his yardworking partner, and Mary Petersen, who made so many delicious goodies for him.
He was preceded in death by both parents, brother Richard, precious daughter Rosalynn and brother-in-law Donald Diehm.
Please make memorials out to BPOE #2276, 325 S. 3rd West St., Mountain Home, ID 83647.