FC: Happy 80th Birthday to Richard Newton Park
1: With lots of love from your children: Therese Anne Joseph Christopher Mary Catherine Michael Gerard Elizabeth Ann Caroline Marie
13: Dear Daddy, Happy Birthday!! Eighty years of love, caring, patience, and gentle guidance have left an indelible imprint on all of us. We hope you feel all the love that you have sent our way reflecting back to you. It is blinding! Thinking back on how you have helped shape my life, I think of.... Flying over the deserts in New Mexico, A love of mathematics as a language and a tool (only I was excited about being in calculus class), Stargazing at all hours of the night with a 16-in telescope, Learning to scuba dive because you and Joey did, A love of learning with a high regard for wisdom as well as knowledge, A willingness to meet challenges and opportunities (you will figure it out kid!), Teaching me to play gin rummy (at which I still hold my own) and solitaire, Always encouraging me to reach for my potential, Gently redirecting me when I headed off in the wrong direction, How you love babies and small children, A quiet willingness to volunteer - president, newsletter editor, treasurer, usher, ... whatever was needed, An application to the Air Force Academy for the first class of women (which I declined, but always remembered and thought about), Celebration of family - trips to Washington state to see the Park clan annual Metzger get togethers, beach vacations, baptisms, first communions, graduations, anniversaries, Enjoyment of intellectual conversation and good times, Your absolute love and dedication to our Mother, Your unswerving dedication and love for each of your children, Putting trust in faith, family, and friends above all else, So many things, small and large, that have helped me become a better child, sibling, spouse, parent, and friend. So let me say, without reserve, that I love you dearly! You have a special place in my heart that only you can fill! With lots of love, hugs, and kisses, Your daughter, Therese
15: ETAS: LXXX ANNO NATIVITATIS: MCMXXXII Dear Dad, Congratulations on your 80th Birthday. To provide some perspective on the occasion, one should establish a historical context. In the year 1932 (MCMXXXII): Tarzan the Ape Man opens, with Olympic gold medalist Johnny Weissmuller in the title role. Jack Benny's radio show airs for the first time. Amelia Earhart flies from the USA to Derry, Northern Ireland in 14 hours 54 minutes. Hattie W. Caraway becomes the first woman elected to the United States Senate. The Archbishop of Canterbury forbids church remarriage of divorced persons. 15,000 World War I veterans arrive in Washington, D.C. demanding the immediate payment of their military bonus. Babe Ruth makes his famous called shot in game 3 of the World Series. Buck Rogers in the 25th Century debuts on radio. From a more abstract perspective, we can note that in the Gregorian Year LXXX (80) Emperor Titus inaugurated the Colosseum with 100 days of games, and that the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles are written. Within a more modern, actuarial context, we find that an American male born in 1932 has a life expectancy of 59.4 years. So again: Congratulations! So the world is a different place. A question which is always in the forefront of my mind is:Is the world a better place for the contributions you have made? We all struggle with this in one form or another, and now it is appropriate to reflect on this in your instance. My opinion is that indeed, the world is a better place thanks to the Life and Times of Richard N. Park. First, it is with complete admiration and Love that I express my joy at being a child of Catherine Park. I often ask myself why someone as special as Kathleen Bridgman decided that I was good enough for her to marry. The same sentiment applies when I think of my mother. Truly we are blessed as siblings to be the kinder of such a wonderful humanitarian. Second, I am grateful for your steady determination and will in helping all of us find our way in the world. In times past, your role might have been one of dictating careers, rather, you have focused on education and knowledge as the path to helping us discover who we can be. Finally, I admire your work with the Knights of Columbus, SERRA, and your generous support of those less fortunate. The world is a better place. From the Park Family, we wish you a great celebration of not just one day, but many to come. Kate, Corey & Joseph Park
17: Dear Dad, Wow, 80 years! What a milestone and a blessing. Not a bad list of things to show for it, either! Six happy kids and fifteen beautiful grandkids. Lots of happy memories (with more to come!). And of course your amazing faith. Some of my favorite memories are family trips we took and places we visited. Camping in New Mexico, Carlsbad Caverns, Luray Caverns, Mt. Vernon, seeing the space shuttle launch, the World’s Fair at Knoxville, Key West, Sanibel Island, and Puerto Rico. And, of course, visiting Grandma and Grandpa and our Park relatives in Washington. It was special to get a glimpse of your life growing up, to see the Pacific Ocean for the first time, to tour post-eruption Mt St Helen’s, to go rafting and play badminton at the cabin, and to visit the Olympia Brewery! I remember being very scared when you had your heart attack at age 48, and later your bypass surgery. But God answered our prayers (with a little help from your determined exercise program) and allowed us to keep you, and gave our children the blessing of knowing you. Our kids are all fortunate to know firsthand, among many other things, that Grandpa likes to tease, has a dry witty sense of humor, and will tickle you when you least expect it. I am so grateful to you and Mom for so many things. A very happy childhood, my Catholic faith, sacrificing so that I could go to a good high school, to the college I wanted, and to study in France. But mostly for your dedication to us and the strong sense of family you instilled in us. I don’t know that working at TM was your dream job, but because of that we were able to live among our extended family and get to know our aunts, uncles and cousins in a way we never could have otherwise. I wish we could have gotten to know our Park relatives in the same way, but that’s a challenge we all face today, with jobs moving us across the country. Thank heaven for the internet! I’m also so grateful to you and Mom for packing up and moving to Texas after my diagnosis with breast cancer. I know it was no small endeavor. It was so wonderful to have you and Mom part of our daily lives, and for our kids to get to know you in a way that they couldn’t before with the long distance. My only regret is that it was so short (ok, I still feel guilty about having to move to Colorado!). But we got two special years with you, and now Caroline has the same blessing, so that’s something to be happy about. But mostly, Dad, I just want to say I love you and feel so fortunate to have been blessed with you as my father. Happy Birthday! And many more to come! Love, Mary
19: Dad, Congratulations on 80 orbits around the Sun ! I wonder if that makes you an Octo-Orbitarian, or perhaps an Octo-Revolutionary ! Thinking back on the circuits I was around brings back many great memories – here are some highlights: Watching rocket launches at Cape Canaveral. Fixing and using the 10” telescope (I remember climbing inside to sand and paint, cranking the gears, and reading star charts). Nearly winning the soap box derby. Dolphins games at the Orange Bowl (bringing a cooler with a false bottom). Working at ‘the plant’. Weddings, anniversaries, vacations and family parties. It also reminds me of many of the lessons you imparted over the years (including your patience in repeating those lessons time and again until they stuck) - these were, like y’know, some of my favorites: Do what’s right, and things will work out. You won’t know until you try. Gently. You can do it – you’re a Park. When all else fails – read the instructions. Over the years I have also realized that many of my habits and beliefs were shaped from having witnessed your approach to life. Listen more than you speak – you learn more that way. Plan ahead, but deal with reality. Think about why someone might be doing what they are doing before judging them. Don’t get upset over things you can’t change. If you are upset about something, do something constructive about it. Everyone is good at their own things, and we are all smart (or stupid) in different ways – I find it truly amazing that you always pushed each of your children to perform to the best of their ability, but never expected any of us to have the same ability or desires as the others. I know that I was ‘blessed’ with a good measure of your sense of humor (and Joy certainly thanks you for that !). I appreciate your showing me that you can always have a sense of humor, and that having a good time is an important part of any success. But most of all, thanks for teaching us that Family is the most important thing – and meaning it – and living it. I love you, and look forward to the coming revolutions. Michael.
21: Dear Dad, Happy 80th Birthday! I am so happy that I get to celebrate this birthday with you. I feel truly blessed to have had such a great dad. You have taught me many things and I am sure I still have more to learn from you. One of the most important things I have learned from you is how important family is and how important it is to be a loving but firm parent. You have also given me a very strong faith, and a wonderful example of how one can live out their faith daily. I have many happy memories from my childhood as one of the “little kids” in our family. I remember how you used to tease and tickle us. I remember having all the sheets pulled off my bed when I did not make it before leaving for school. I remember you helping me with my math and instilling in me a love of learning. I remember our family vacations to Sandals, Longview, Puerto Rico, and how you always took us to visit unique sites: the Nuclear Power Plant, The Olympia Brewery, The Pacific Ocean (very cold as I recall), and the Rain Forest. I remember many happy holidays as a family. As an adult I have always felt your presence in my life and have known that you are there to support me. I remember many good dinners at Arturo’s restaurant, bringing Mike home to meet you and mom for the first time, having you come and live at Terri and Keith’s house while I was living there too, you and mom coming when each of my children was born and baptized and again when they have made their First Communion, and many family vacations in Florida and at the beach. Thank you for all you have given me and taught me over the 47 years I have known and loved you. I love you. Liz
23: Dad, You have always been there for me when I needed you, and you still are. I hope some day when you need help I will be there for you in equal measure. It is truly a blessing to have you and Mom living near me now. Even when you lived far away, I felt close to you, like you were with me in spirit. You don't seem 80 years old to me. I am pretty sure you don't feel 80, and you certainly don't look it. Watching you and Mom get older and still be in good health is a joy not many people have. I've always been proud to be your daughter. I love your sense of humor, your willingness to stand up for what you believe in, and to live accordingly. I am so happy that my children are getting to know you and Mom. You are helping me to be a better mom. One of the gifts you have given me is that I have always known you love me no matter what, and I hope that my children will always know I love them no matter what. Looking forward to many more years of loving my dad! Love, Caroline