James W. Parks, Sr
James W. Parks, Sr, 88, husband of the late Elizabeth P. Parks, passed away Tuesday, March 17, 2020, at Laurel Ridge Nursing Home in Ridgefield, Conn., after a long and difficult battle with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Born March 18, 1932, in Stamford, Conn., he was the son of the late Guy and Lurlin Parks. Jim proudly served in the United States Navy during the Korean War, then returned to Connecticut to work and raise his family. He owned and ran Westfair Boiler Repair for more than 50 years and was well known and respected in the industry.
He is survived by his daughters, Renae and her husband, Samuel Stietzel, of Redding, and Lisa Parks of Norwalk; and sons, James Parks, Jr, of Bethel and Brian Parks and his wife, Lola, of Southbury. He is also survived by his brother, Kenneth and his wife, Margaret “Peggy,” of Readfield, Maine. He is also survived by nine grandchildren, Jennifer Barton Hunt, Heather Barton, Lindsay Stietzel Faulk, Luke Stietzel, J.J. Parks, Jhonathan Parks, Chelsey Martylewski “Monkey,” Daniel Parks, and Cristina Parks Toi. He is also survived by ten great-grandchildren, with number 11 on the way.
In addition to his wife Elizabeth, he was predeceased by his brothers, Guy and Arthur; sisters, Irena Gass and Vada Markward; as well as daughter, Debra Parks Barton, and her husband, Walter, and niece, Malinda Stietzel Petit.
You will be hard-pressed to find a man that was more universally loved and respected by those that knew him. Pop never said no when asked for help and would be there at a moment’s notice if you needed him. His family was always number one, and there was many a time that he dropped what he was doing to go help someone in need. His grandchildren were his favorite above all else and he made each one feel like they were special to him, and they were. He dressed up as Santa Claus when his youngest daughter, Lisa, was born and that began a generation-long tradition of every year making an appearance at his home and then as word got around, of him traveling to both family and friends houses to give out presents.
He was an excellent role model to many young people, especially when it came to training them in working in the heating trades. Jim gave many aspiring individuals their start in the HVAC industry and few people knew more about boiler repairs than he did.
Jim was a long-suffering Met’s fan, standing by them when they were winning or losing, mostly the latter. He was a Met’s season ticket holder for many years and often went with his wife, Betty, to spring training to scout out the new talent and to always hope it was their year to win.
The one event that shaped his life above all else was his time serving in the United States Navy during the Korean conflict. He talked so much about how important the Navy was to his life that three of his five children proudly followed him into the Navy. Serving aboard the USS Navasota in the Pacific ocean is where he learned to work on boilers, and he often said the discipline he learned in the Navy pointed him in the right direction and helped to give him purpose in life. That and marrying the love of his life, who really straightened him out and kept him on track.
The one other hobby he had was bowling and even though he worked many hours at his job, nights, holidays, and weekends, he never missed one Friday night at the Broad River Lanes and in the 1970s he even tried bowling on the pro-bowling circuit, although that wasn’t meant to be. He will also be missed by his many friends at the Eagles Club in Norwalk where he spent many a day drinking his favorite and only beer, Budweiser.
Even as he became ill with the terrible sickness that stole the very best of him, his great personality and positiveness continued to shine through and he often had a smile on his face. His caregivers that hadn’t known him before he became sick often commented on what a happy and easy-going man he was and how he would still laugh and continue to be in a good mood. Our family would especially like to thank the staff at Laurel Ridge Health Care Center in Ridgefield for the extremely professional and loving care that they provided in his last years of his life, and they assisted greatly during a very difficult time in his life.
Due to the ongoing health emergency, there will be no calling hours. Burial was scheduled to take place Tuesday, March 24, 2020, at 11 am at Fairfield Memorial Park, 230 Oaklawn Avenue, Stamford, Conn., with a graveside ceremony. There will be a memorial service planned in the future for friends and family when conditions improve and gatherings are once again permitted.