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James “Leonard” Parks (1925-2023)

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James “Leonard” Parks, 97, passed away Feb. 16, 2023, in Ellsworth. He was born Sept. 2, 1925, in Holland Township, Dickinson County, Kan., to James and Elnora (Goldsmith) Parks. He was a graduate of Utica High School. He served in the U.S. Navy during WWII aboard the USS Makassar Straight and USS Arthur Middleton from 1943-46. After returning from his military service, he worked for Missouri Pacific Railroad.

Leonard married Betty Jo Johnson in Utica, Kan. on Oct. 31, 1948. Leonard received his bachelor’s degree from Bethany College in 1952 and later received his master’s from Fort Hays State University. He retired after over 30 years of teaching at Ellsworth Elementary School. He was a member of the Ellsworth Masonic Lodge AF&AM 146, Isis Shrine Temple and Ellsworth VFW Post 6485. During his time with the Isis Temple, Leonard was most recognizable as an ISIS Shrine clown, donning the makeup for the circus, parades and school and city events. He was also a longtime member of the First Presbyterian Church in Ellsworth.

Leonard is survived by his daughters-in-law, Terri Parks of Ellsworth and Dr. Pam Parks of Pueblo, Colo., six grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, four great-great grandchildren and many nieces and nephews. He was preceded in death by his parents; wife Betty Jo Parks; sons, Dr. Gary Parks and Greg Parks; brothers, Charles “Bob”, Marvin, Eugene “Pat” and Kenneth “Kenny”; and sisters, Louise Woods and Henrietta Holmes.

Memorial service is at 11:30 a.m., Friday, March 17, 2023, at First Presbyterian Church in Ellsworth. Inurnment will take place at a later date at the Beeler Cemetery, Beeler, Kan.
Memorial contributions may be made to USD 327 (memo: General Academics Fund), c/o, Parsons Funeral Home, P.O. Box 45, Ellsworth, KS 67439. Condolences may be left at