|I was asked to write this memoir, probably because I knew Ed Parks better than any other person. He was born the child of Mr. and Mrs. N. J. Parks in Russellville, Arkansas, on May 29, 1927. Ed and I were high school sweethearts, married in Russellville where we grew up and went through high school together. We were blessed with two sons: William Edward, Jr. (Billy), and Joseph Phillip (Phil), two daughters-in-law; three grandsons and one granddaughter.
Employment brought Ed to Homer, Louisiana, from Fort Smith, Arkansas. As Ed was driving into the city limits of Homer, he prayed that we would be happy in this little town. In that moment, Ed heard an audible voice saying, "And you will become a preacher!" Ed said, "Oh no, God. You know that Rebekah had said that she would never be a preacher's wife!" This is all very true. In time, Ed was successful in his new line of business, we bought a beautiful home, and became very active in the Homer Methodist Church. This was before "United" was added. We were a part of everything in the church where we were needed. At this time in our lives, Rev. Jimmie Caraway was our pastor. He saw the potential in Ed's ability to sing, teach a Sunday School Class, and serve as church lay leader. Every year he was the Lay Delegate to Annual Conference. Just before Annual Conference one year all the appointments were made except one, the Athens Charge. One night, Ed and Jimmie were talking about the appointments, and out of the clear blue, Jimmie asked Ed if he had ever considered going into the ministry. Ed nearly fell over with surprise, saying, "Yes, I have, but Rebekah hasn't." Jimmie told Ed to explain to me that to be the Lay Pastor at the three small churches on the Athens Charge we wouldn't have to sell our home; just go on weekends to the parsonage there, spend Saturday night and then come home after the Sunday services. And, ladies and gentlemen, this was the beginning of Ed's pastoral ministry, and mine, as a preacher's wife. I can never thank Jimmie Caraway enough for his suggestion. Through Ed's ministry, I have had a ball in being Ed's partner every step of the way.
Our first full-time appointment was the Simsboro Charge (Simsboro, Antioch, and Salem). Ed was furthering his education. He received his degree from Louisiana Tech University, and went on to Perkins School of Theology where he received his Master's Degree. During Ed's ministry, he served as a United Methodist Pastor in: Horseshoe Drive in Alexandria; Live Oak in Watson; Claiborne-Wilhite in West Monroe; Algiers in New Orleans; and Memorial-Mer Rouge in Bastrop. In 1992, we thought we were retiring to a Retired Minister's Home in Homer. We bought our furniture and moved in the nice little home, following Cleburne and Jane Quaid. At this time, our D.S. asked Ed if he would fill in for an ailing pastor at Gibsland and Oak Grove. The pastor died and so we were appointed to the charge for 4 ½ years. The following June, our D. S., Rev. Jimmie Pyles asked if we'd go to the Marion-Bird's Chapel Charge. We were there five years, then we retired again! At this time, Ed had been diagnosed as having Alzheimer's Disease. This was not serious at the time, thanks to his medication. We didn't get to take those long vacation trips we'd dreamed of because Ed was, by now, not as alert in his driving. We were content to just be together, laughing and having a good time as we always had done. We loved being back in our dear little Homer, going to Sunday School and church until the final two Sundays of Ed's life. Even our close friends were shocked at the passing of their friend. He was my best friend too. I am so lonely without him and miss him more than words can say. But, I will see him again, and he will be completely healed from his sickness. It was pneumonia that actually took his life, but he's O.K. now. I thank God for his tender loving care of Ed and me. His plans are so much better than ours. Thanks be to God! How Great Thou Art!
By His wife, Rebekah Parks
|Source: Louisiana Conference Journal 2004|