Wednesday, October 28, 2009


Can't do this one justice tonight. Too fried from writing fundraising letters. Jen, Geoff, others, go to it. But for starters: we'd go to Popham Beach in Maine and he would bark at seals til they barked back. Turns out if they barked back, they were probably sea lions, since apparently seals don't bark, but prefer raspberry noises...

Stuff I'm fanatical about 'cause of Dad:
  1. Baseball: he'd go out and work on one of his many yard projects and leave me sitting in front of the TV with the instruction that I tell him what happened when he came back in. I took him very seriously and am a real baseball addict. Which means I'm really annoyed that I have clients at 8:15 and 8 the first two nights of this World Series. GRRR.
  2. Animals: Dad had a bulldog growing up named Lord Jeff. He loved that dog, and my childhood was full of stories of how it said "wanna go out" and drank coke from bottles. No wonder right after his death I started a pet-sitting biz and adopted a 3 year old, not yet housebroken bulldog...
  3. Tree climbing: I remember the day he introduced the concept with what seemed like a really huge beech tree in the woods behind our house (think it got cut down when the built the Wax's house). I still categorize trees mainly into good and bad climbing trees, and I climbed a tree in my bridesmaid dress (one I actually liked) with some groomsmen after my friend Bekah's wedding. I also taught my niece Amy the love of tree climbing and am eager to do the same for Katie!
  4. Books: you'd think as a librarian's kid (actually 2 librarians), I would check out books from the library. My approach is to BE the library. I almost can't help myself acquiring books. I volunteered at the book fair at Katie's preschool yesterday and kept going back to the register and ringing more stuff up for her and for me...

This is the eulogy I wrote for Dad 4 years ago:

The following was forwarded to me by Bill O'Malley, Dad's former Asst. Dean of Libraries at URI who has also passed away since. The description was written by a co-worker of theirs. It pretty much captures dad:

George R. Parks, first Dean of the University Libraries, died Oct 17, 2005 in Windham, Me.

He came to the University in Aug. 1969 as Director, and left us in July 1980. He was only as old as the number of years his predecessor had been at the University! During his time at the University he instituted the first staff and professional librarians meetings, requiring each group to report to the other what had been discussed and decided. He created Department Heads, introducing a collegial approach to management, and supported the professional librarians in their struggle for acceptance into the University Faculty. (We returned the favor, later supporting his becoming a Dean!) He worked towards upgrading the staff, all but one of whom were then Clerk Typists and Senior Clerk Typists, persuading the State of RI to institute the Library Tech classification and reactivate the classified Librarian. And led the team planning the first addition to the Library, the initiation of automated systems for Cataloging and Circulation, the absorption of the branches into a University Libraries system, the introduction of credit-bearing LIB courses.....

When George was appointed to URI, the librarians received a set of punched cards frpm the librarians of the University of Rochester Library, done in purple, which turned out to be advice from his old staff on how to live with him. Among my own fondest memories was the aftermath of the then Head of Cataloging demanding a dress code for staff because of what she saw as dreadful attire. George went home, typed a scurrilous dress code, posted it in the morning and waited in his office for a response. The Head of Cataloging ran around the library checking all the typewriters, but couldn't ID the offender....

Or his closing the Library after classes ended one spring when the library was so overcrowded and understaffed that it needed that much to get it back in order. He sent the entire library staff into the stacks, himself included, while he sent out for cases of cold soda and snacks to keep us going. (I took great delight in assigning him the oversized art books that tended to fall off the shelves whenever you touched them.)

George spent 1980-85 as director of Colgate University Libraries, and then went home to Maine where he served as Director of the library at the University of Southern Maine, from which he retired in 1997.

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