Ralph “Park” John Parkinson, 91, of Tomah passed into his heavenly home Friday, Aug. 9, 2019, at The Greenfield House, with his loving wife and son by his side. He was born Dec. 27, 1927, to Clarence and Josephine (Garron) Parkinson in Midway, Pa.
While still in high school, he was drafted into the U.S. Army at the close of World War II, where he trained as a paratrooper. After his enlistment, he worked for railroads in Pennsylvania and adjoining states. There he painted bridges and earned the nickname Spider. Later, he attended Albion College in Ohio, for a chemical engineering degree. Then he joined the U.S. Air Force, where he served for over 23 years, as a weapons technician and nuclear weapons technician, stationed in Japan, Korea, Okinawa, three tours and Turkey, and retired in 1977. On July 17, 1971, he was united in marriage to Darlene (Cole) Wilson at St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, Tomah. After his retirement from the Air Force, he owned 32 rental mobile homes in the former Woodland Terrace. In his final career, Ralph served the U.S. Postal Service as a rural mail carrier for over 26 years.
Park lived a life of service to his Lord, to his country, to his community and especially to his family. He was a devoted husband and father, always putting his family first. Volunteering with Operation Home-front and the Neighbor for Neighbor Food Pantry, allowed him to give back to those who have given so much and to care for those in need. As a member of the Lions Club, a devoted member of St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, an officer of TREA (The Enlisted Association) Chapter 127, an officer of the Monroe/Juneau County Rural Letter Carriers Association, a member of the National Rural Letters Carriers Association, and a member Monroe County Area Retired Educators Association and of the Wisconsin REA, Park was able to extend a helping hand to others.
In his spare time, he was a League bowler from earlier in life, until the age of 90, when only after suffering a hemorrhagic stroke, was he no longer able to play.
He is survived by his wife, Darlene, of Tomah;, his son, Paul, of Tomah; a sister, Arlene Alexander, of Hickory, Pa.; a sister-in-law, Gail Parkinson, of McDonald, Pa., and a sister-in-law, Nancy Cole, of Waukesha, Wis., and Mission, Texas. He is further survived by other relatives and many friends.
He was preceded in death by his parents, Clarence and Josephine; his parents-in-law, Richard and Margaret Cole; siblings, Lloyd, Jeanette and Roy; brothers-in-law, Hilory Cole, Darrel Cole, infant, Richard Cole Jr.; as well as an infant sister-in-law, Beverly Cole. Park knew the infants only through his annual Memorial Day precise attention to their grave-sites.
Ralph’s family extends thanks to the Morrow Memorial Home, Tomah Memorial Hospital and The Greenfield House, for their excellent and appreciated care of Ralph after his stroke.
A memorial service will be held at 11 a.m. Thursday, Aug. 15, at St. Paul Ev. Lutheran Church, 525 Superior Ave., Tomah. Pastor Curt S. Backhaus will officiate. Burial will be in the Clifton Cemetery with military honors. Relatives and friends are invited for a time of visitation from 10 a.m. until the time of the service Thursday at the church.
The Sonnenburg Family Funeral Home, Tomah is assisting the family with arrangements. Online condolences may be given at www.sonnenburgfamilyfh.com.