Robert Gillen Parks, Jr., 87, of Columbia, passed away after a short illness on Sunday, Jan. 27, 2013. Funeral services will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, at First Presbyterian Church in Columbia, followed by a reception at the church.
Bob was born August 16, 1925 in Cleveland, Tennessee, to Robert G. Parks, Sr., and Ruth Taylor Parks. Even during the hardships of the Depression, he knew he was loved by his family and community, and there he thrived.
His lifelong commitment to service began when he joined the Army Air Corp as an aviation cadet in August 1943. By March 1945 he was promoted to Second Lieutenant and served until October 1945.
After the war, he attended the University of Tennessee and graduated in 1949 with a B.S. in Business Administration. He was active on campus and served as president of Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity. On April 19, 1950 he married the love of his life, Mary Lu Bodkin, in Cleveland, Tennessee.
He was called back into service as a C-46 pilot in the Air Force in 1951. He served 20 months during the Korean War transporting troops.
In 1956, he joined the Benjamin Moore Paint Company as a salesman. This began a highly successful 35-year career where he advanced to senior executive leadership roles. He cherished his friendships with colleagues and customers. In 1994 he and Mary Lu retired to Columbia, Mo. where they found many dear friends. He enjoyed serving in Kiwanis and as an elder at the First Presbyterian Church.
A man who was loved and beloved, he was loyal to his family, friends, company, church, community and country. His family and friends will miss his sense of humor, gift for storytelling and generosity.
Bob is survived by this wife, Mary Lu of Columbia; daughters, Laura (Neil) Carr of Topeka, Kan., Marty (Pat) Colwell of Waterloo, Iowa, and Mary (Jeff) Stier of Des Moines, Iowa; sister, Martha McKinstry of Oak Ridge, Tenn.; grandchildren, Meredith Carr Cathey, Alex Carr, Phillip Carr, Amy Colwell Reedy, Ann Colwell, Ryan Stier and Emma Stier. His father and mother preceded him in death. Memorial contributions are suggested to the Columbia Kiwanis Foundation, PO Box 158, Columbia, MO 65204, or Salvation Army.