DURHAM — Dr. Clarence Milton Parks, 75, passed away on Monday, November 9, 2020 after suffering complications from an emergency surgery. He was born in Corpus Christi, Texas, the son of the late Barton Aaron Parks, Sr. and Dora Priour Parks. In addition to his parents, Dr. Parks was preceded in death by his sister, Barbara Zelle.
He married Vicki Fant in June of 1971 and they remained married for nearly 50 years until his death. During their marriage they lived in Vermont, Texas, and Colorado finally retiring to North Carolina to be closer to family. During their time together they traveled extensively including trips all over North America and Europe.
Dr. Parks began his teaching career in 1970 at St. Johnsbury Academy in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. He resigned in 1975 to begin work on his Master’s degree. He continued to teach a variety of classes while working on his secondary degrees. Clarence received degrees from Sam Houston State University in 1969, Stephen F. Austin State University in 1976, culminating with his Ph.D. in Sociology from Texas A&M University in 1983.
After receiving his Ph.D., Dr. Parks spent 28 years at Adams State University teaching a variety of classes in the sociology department and serving as department chair for several of those years, receiving a Presidential Teaching Award for 2010-2011 school year. He was a prolific writer who published a book on the history of the blues called “The Man Who Knew the Blues” and subsequently taught a class on the subject.
Dr. Parks was a devoted fisherman who could be found at Tucker Ponds in the San Luis Valley most Saturdays with his family during the summer months. Dr. Parks was an avid guitarist and founding member of the “Last Chance Band,” a diverse group of professors, friends, and vagabonds who would meet monthly to recreate Rock N’ Roll classics including “Brown Eyed Girl,” “Margaritaville,” and many others. They typically closed with “Goodnight Irene,” one of his favorites.
He was an Elder at the Alamosa Presbyterian Church for many years serving beside his wife Vicki, who was a deacon. He and Vicki are currently members of Mt. Bethel Presbyterian Church in Durham.
Dr. Parks is survived by his beloved wife Vicki, his brother Barton Parks, Jr. (Evelyn Parks), his son Aaron Parks (Jessie Deal) and daughter Elizabeth Best (Nathan Best). He has four grandchildren including Aaron’s two sons, Zayden and Sebastian and Elizabeth’s two children Savannah and Jackson. His nieces and nephews are too numerous to mention but form a kaleidoscope of much-loved family members.
In lieu of flowers, memorial donations may be made to the North Carolina Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped or the Colorado Talking Book Library in Dr. Parks’ name. Friends of the NCLBPH: 1841 Capital Boulevard, Raleigh, NC 27635; or to Friends of the Colorado Talking Book Library: 180 Sheridan Boulevard, Denver, CO 80226-8101
The family is being assisted by Clements Funeral & Cremation Services, Inc. in Durham. Online condolences may be sent to www.clementsfuneralservice.com.