Thermopolis Independent Record - Your source for news in Hot Springs County

Richard Parke


Richard Eugene Parke, 90, passed away on Dec. 11, 2016.

He was born to his proud parents, Richard Eugene Parke and Lousetta Brandenburg Parke, in Valley Park, Mo., on Oct. 5, 1926. He spent his childhood in Missouri with his siblings Bill, Fenton, Roy, Albert, Louis, Catherine and Tommy. He had a hard working, family oriented, common, and adventurous life. He appreciated everything from weather, work, animals, good food and friends.

He was a very giving and caring person. He always saw the best in someone, just don’t lie to him. He believed that people could change their lives for the better, and they always deserved a second chance or more. He would give his last dime or shirt off his back if someone were in need. He didn’t keep track but expected repayment in one way or another. Usually just changing their lives for the better and making positive decisions were enough repayment for him.

He worked on a steamship on the Mississippi River and told many stories about that job. One was how they could run circles around the tugboats. He had other odd jobs, including running moonshine. He came from a family of painters and fell right into their footsteps. He used to brag about being the highest paid painter in Thermopolis, and well deserved. People would wait their turn until he could get to them. He was a member of the International Union of Painter and Allied trades. He was definitely an “old school painter” and wouldn’t even consider using anything to paint with besides his brush.

Richard loved life and animals. His home was like a sanctuary with the deer, birds, squirrels, rabbits and his beloved cats. He has a Husky dog, “Buddy”, for many years with a lot of good memories. He loved growing a garden and having a nice yard with lots of trees and flowers. He loved his little piece of heaven in Thermopolis, know as “Shanty Town”, right on the other side of the railroad tracks.

He heated his apartment and cooked with wood heat. The last 10 years he sometimes used a hot pad. He had a summer kitchen outside, which consisted of a wood stove. He never owned a microwave, or used a coffee maker. He didn’t own a phone until he was about 75 years old. Later on he advanced to a cordless phone and a flat screen TV with a remote. He never had too much wood and even chopped and stacked it until about 7 years ago. He always said wood was as good as gold.

Earlier in life he married Ruth McCarthy from St. Genevieve, Mo., who he grew up with. They had a good marriage, moved to Casper and raised four awesome children, Jerry Parke, Jane Ross, Diane Siri and Richard Parke, in a small log home in Mills. He built the home by himself without any plans on paper. After years of marriage they divorced.

Later in life he was rewarded with eight grandchildren, Jessie Stillman, Jeremy Parke, Patrick Dennis, Staci Ross, Rob Brown, Tiffany Wilson, Crystal Petterson and Richie Park, the third. Following with a life full of great-grandchildren.

The memories, stories and love associated with him will live on forever. He is a legend to his family and friends. We are all so fortunate to have been a part of his life.

He was healthy his whole life until 5-10 years ago, associated mostly with his age. He moved into Shepherd of the Valley nursing home in Casper on Oct. 4, 2016. He celebrated his 90th birthday there with family and friends. He had his share of hardships and struggles in life. He never compromised his integrity, beliefs in God, or trust in people. He cherished life and everything in it.


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