Lt. Commander William Harley Parks

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Lt. Commander William Harley Parks, USN (Ret) died on December 19, 2018 from congestive heart failure. He was 82 years old. He was born on January 7, 1936 in Shawnee, Oklahoma to William Harley Parks Sr. and Jewel Long Parks, daughter of Dr. Wm Long MD. His father, a banker, was killed in a car crash in April 1941 that "Billy" and his mother and infant sister, Jane Parks, survived. His mother re-married about two years later and the family moved to Beaumont, Texas near the end of WW2 and then to Overton, Texas. Bill skipped the fourth grade in Beaumont and graduated from Overton High School in 1953.

Bill turned down an academic scholarship to Texas A&M (had to be in the TAMU corps of cadets - he didn't want to serve in the Army) and an offer from his local congressman to be appointed to West Point (he didn't want to serve in the Army) electing instead to attend Abilene Christian University for school year 1953/1954 while waiting a promised Congressional appointment to the US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. He received two appointments to the Naval Academy in 1954, one from Oklahoma and another from Tyler, TX congressman Brady Gentry. This caused some confusion in the Navy Department and they contacted Bill wanting to know where he was a resident. Of course, Bill informed the Navy that he was a Texan and coincidently changed his name to Will, which was his preference, and was known as Will throughout his naval career.

Bill received his Bachelor Degree and commission as an Ensign in the Navy from President Eisenhower on June 4, 1958. He returned to Texas and married Sue Payne of New London, Texas, on June 15, 1958. They had three children, Robin in 1959, Rebecca in 1961 and Jason in 1963. His family moved wherever the Navy sent them spending most of his naval career serving in the Pacific including about ten years in Pearl Harbor, both ashore and afloat. He was the Commanding Officer of Naval Facility Coos Head in Oregon for two years and was Commanding Officer of USS Virgo for a short tour near the end of the Vietnam war. His last duty station was in Pearl Harbor on the Pacific Fleet staff during which he used his in-service GI Bill credits to attend Chaminade University of Honolulu at night to obtain a degree in accounting.

Bill retired from the Navy in 1978 after twenty years of active duty and returned to Texas. Sue died in January 1995. He took a job in Longview, TX for two tax seasons and then accepted an offer of a new position with a firm in Tyler. He was licensed by the US Treasury Department to practice tax before the IRS. He purchased the firm in 1982 and grew the firm until he received an offer to become CFO for the expanding Posados Cafe restaurant chain at their headquarters in Tyler. He accepted the offer and sold his tax practice. He remained the CFO for Posados until 2004. He continued to work as a tax consultant for a few choice clients until he was 79 years old.

He is survived by his two daughters, Robin Parks, of Tyler and Rebecca Camfield of Tallahassee, Florida. He is also survived by his grandchildren, Jennifer Parks of Tyler and Daniel Camfield who is married to Stefanie Camfield, an Assistant General Counsel for Florida state government in Tallahassee, and one great grandson, Tobias Magnus Camfield (Toby). Also still surviving is his baby sister, Jane Parks Eller, who was still telling him how to run his life.
Published in Tyler Morning Telegraph on Jan. 5, 2019
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