Marybell Parks, age 89, passed away peacefully into the loving arms of Jesus in the early morning hours of June 14, 2020 surrounded by family. She was born to Frank & Lilly Belle Neil on April 19, 1931 in Ignacio, Colorado. She attended school in Oxford and Ignacio from a young age and graduated from Ignacio High School in 1949. She married Henry Elbert Parks on July 9, 1949 and had celebrated their 62nd anniversary six months before his passing in 2012.
Marybell worked for Florida Mesa Elementary School from 1968-1994 as secretary. The love she had for her job was evident, even late into her years through visits from previous students and faculty members. She was also frequently visited by her children and grandchildren during the school year.
Marybell and Henry always had an open door and an endless pot of coffee to anyone who stopped by for a visit. Those who stopped by never left without having had a plate of food or canned peaches, endless hugs, laughs, and feeling loved. Often times, a spare bedroom or couch was filled with grandchildren wanting to stay the night.
During her years in Gem Village, she spent much of her time baking and canning. She had a love for embroidery and worked on numerous projects until she lost the majority of her eyesight. One of her favorite things to do was to watch the hummingbirds from her porch, as well as hosting family gatherings weekly to bring those she loved together.
Marybell had a way to make others feel as though they belonged. Not only did she have children and grandchildren of her own, so many of her caretakers became family as well. She was called "Momma" or "Grandma" by many.
Although her love for her family and friends was her passion, her relationship with God was most important. It was her love for Jesus that gave her love for all who walked in her path. Hymns and prayers were always on her lips, she never stopped starting or ending her day with God, and that is what she taught others as well. Even into the last hours of her life, hymns and prayers were on her lips.
Marybell was joyfully reunited with the love of her life, Henry, three of her cherished daughters, Vickey, Twila, and Beverly, several siblings and her parents. She is survived by her brother, Frank Neil Jr., sister Alta Lunsford, children Connie Brown (Bill), Cliff Parks, Keith Parks, Lynn Parks (Lee), 18 grandchildren, and 50 plus great and great-great-grandchildren.
Graveside services will be held on Saturday, June 20th, 2020 at 3 p.m. for family members at Pine River Cemetery in Bayfield, CO. A celebration of life will be held at a later date.
Published in The Durango Herald on Jun. 16, 2020.