PHYLLIS MARION PARKES (DUNNE)
December 10, 1912 – October 21, 2014
Phyllis left us very peacefully at Pine Grove Care Centre in the early hours of October 21, just a few weeks short of her 102nd birthday. What a wonderful life!
She is survived by her son, Dick (Joy) Parkes, grandchildren Sonja Myllymaki, Erik (Erin) Myllymaki, Dale Parkes, Holly (Murray) Lester, Jessica (Scott) Rouse and by great-grandchildren Mya, Jordyn, Cole, Rya, Austin and Kye. Phyllis was predeceased by her husband, Vincent Parkes, her brother Leslie Dunne, her sisters Madge Goudie and Nell Morgan and her daughter Miriam McLean.
Phyllis was one of the first babies born in the new Royal Inland Hospital on Columbia Street and was featured as the Christmas baby with the nurses and shown in a photo in the Kamloops Inland Sentinel. Her parents were homesteaders in the Sorrento/Blind Bay area and she grew up on the shores of Shuswap Lake. Pioneering life was difficult, but Phyllis thrived on it, travelling about 3 miles to Blind Bay School every day on her horse, Knobby, or skating along the shoreline in the winter. She was her mother’s message carrier and learned about helping others by delivering letters and parcels to the other settlers in the area.
Phyllis attended high school in Salmon Arm and at Kamloops High School and then went on to nurses training at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Victoria. In her second year there, she was a victim of the flu epidemic which turned into pneumonia and affected her heart. On the advice of her doctor she was forced to drop out of the nursing program. After a long recovery she began working as a receptionist in a doctor’s office in Salmon Arm where she rekindled a teenage friendship with Vincent Parkes, eventually resulting in their engagement. Vincent was called to England in 1937 to help out an aging uncle with his farm and when the uncle passed away and left him the farm, Vincent knew he was going to be remaining in England for some time. He asked Phyllis to come over and join him, which she did, and they were married on April 10, 1939. Their 20-room farmhouse (formerly a monastery) was overflowing during the war years with evacuees from Liverpool and London, visiting Canadian servicemen and prisoners of war. The Queen Mother sent Phyllis a letter and Women’s Voluntary Service badge expressing her thanks for their efforts in housing the evacuees. Their daughter Miriam was born in 1941 and their son Dick in 1944. They were finally able to purchase passage back to Canada in 1947, the farm was sold and the family returned to Canada.
Upon arriving back in Kamloops, Phyllis immediately immersed herself in the community by becoming an active member in many organizations. Assisting Vincent with the establishment of Salmon Lake Fishing Camp in 1950 kept Phyllis busy cleaning cabins, cooking, looking after reservations and raising her family. The Camp was sold in 1957 and most summers were spent afterwards at the family cabins on Shuswap Lake. Phyllis always had a large, colourful flower garden to compliment Vincent’s famous vegetable plot.
Phyllis joined the Canadian Red Cross in 1918 at age six and this was her favourite organization and she continued being an active member until her 97th year. She was also a member of the Y.M.C.A., Civil Defense, John Howard Society, Royal Inland Hospital Auxiliary among others, and received many awards and certificates over the years for her volunteerism.
After a stroke in 2011, she moved into Pine Grove Care Centre where she resided until her passing. She was fortunate to have Kay Davies as her caring roommate while she was there. The family would like to gratefully acknowledge her favourite nurse, Teresa, and the rest of the wonderful staff at Pine Grove for their loving care and compassion over the past 3 years.
A memorial service will be held for Phyllis at St. Mary’s Church, Sorrento at 2:00 PM on Wednesday, October 29, 2014, Reverend Bruce Chalmers officiating. Reception to follow.
Parkes, PhyllisTuesday, 21 Oct 2014
PHYLLIS MARION PARKES (DUNNE)