Kenneth Owen Parks, 85

June 06, 2010
  • Kenneth Owen Parks

NOV. 8, 1924-JUNE 4, 2010

Kenneth Owen Parks, 85, of Hagerstown, Md., died June 4, 2010, at Washington County Hospital.

Born Nov. 8, 1924, in Mount Union, Pa., he was the beloved husband of Kathleen Maureen (Briggs) Parks, whom he married Oct. 10, 1945. Kenneth was a son of the late Chesley Parks and Lienny (Fink) Parks, and his extended siblings include sisters, Marie, Faye, Jenny and Beverly; and brothers, Selwyn, Luther, Fern and Alfred.

After attending school in Mount Union, Kenneth desired to serve in the U.S. Navy but was drafted before he could enlist. This patriotic American joined the U.S. Navy on March 22, 1943, and symbolically fitting to his nature that included a familiarity with weapons, having been an avid hunter even as a youngster, Kenneth became a Gunner's Mate 3rd Class with service on the USS Charles W. Kurtz, the USS Lookout Mountain and the USS George A. Marr. Serving in the Navy's Armed Guard, it was his responsibility to protect merchant ships from enemy warplanes and submarines. He saw action in both the Atlantic and Pacific theaters, manning guns to protect convoys including some 100 ships strong. In commenting on his service he once said, "We mostly saw German and Japanese subs, and also shot at attacking airplanes." Years later, during a visit to the World War II Memorial in Washington, D.C., in the spring of 2008, he recalled that he was fortunate that his vessel was never sunk.


He was employed by several companies in Mount Union, including working with his father and five brothers in their own carpentry business, following which he was hired as a drafting engineer for Pennsylvania Glass Sand Corp.. During this employment beginning in June 1956, Kenneth played a key role in the corporate expansion of major production plants and facilities in more than 10 states. His background in construction planning and design interpretation, along with a thorough knowledge of building procedures, contributed to his appointment as a construction superintendent, from which he retired in 1985. He was a life member of the American Legion in Berkeley Springs, W.Va., and Hagerstown, and AMVETS of Hagerstown.

Kenneth was a member of Francis Asbury United Methodist Church, Berkeley Springs, for many years.

In addition to his wife, Kenneth is survived by one son, Lt. Gen. Garry L. Parks, U.S. Marine Corps (Retired), and wife, Earlene, of Seabrook, S.C.; one daughter, Jodi L. Colombo, and husband, James, of Hagerstown; six grandchildren, Garry L. Parks Jr., Tamara A. Parks, Jennifer L. Carbaugh, Ronald T. Wood II, Whitney M. Colombo and Audreanna L. Colombo; and five great-grandchildren, Jacob A. Carbaugh, Madison P. Carbaugh, Annabelle K. Parks, Connor L. Parks and Karli R. Wood.

The funeral service will be at 10 a.m. Tuesday, June 8, 2010, at Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, 305 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown. The Rev. Dr. Stephen D. Robison will officiate. Burial will be at 12:30 p.m. Tuesday in Rocky Gap Veterans Cemetery, Flintstone, Md.

Visitation will be from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday, June 7, 2010, at the funeral home.

Memorial contributions may be made in his honor to the Brain Injury Association of Maryland Inc., 2200 Kernan Drive, Baltimore, MD 21207.

The Gerald N. Minnich Funeral Home, Bryan K. Kenworthy P.A., 305 N. Potomac St., Hagerstown has been entrusted with the arrangements. Online condolences are accepted at

The Herald-Mail Articles