Florence Evelyn Ainsworth Parks passed away peacefully on Jan. 3, 2019, just shy of her 90th birthday at The McClure Miller Respite House in Colchester, Vt. Florence was born in Walden, Vt., on Jan. 19, 1929, to Cornelius and Gladys (Howe) Ainsworth. Her father had 8 children from a previous marriage, and Florence spoke fondly of all 11 of her siblings throughout her life, often sharing happy memories of her childhood with her own children and grandchildren.
Florence spent many years in the Walden area. She attended the Wiggins School in Walden, Vt., Cabot High School, and graduated from Hardwick Academy in 1947. After graduating from high school, she worked briefly for National Life Insurance Company in Montpelier, Vt.
On Sept. 3, 1948, Florence married Neil Parks of Hardwick, Vt., and soon gave up working outside the home to start a family. They welcomed 8 children over the years, and there was never a dull moment. Times were not always easy, but Florence proved to be a loving, devoted mother. She took advantage of every opportunity to teach or encourage her children, and she was never too busy to share giggles. She enjoyed gardening, canning, was creative in the kitchen, and could always figure out ways to stretch the food budget to meet the needs of her large family. Some of her specialties were homemade donuts, fresh bread, and raspberry squares. She wrote poetry and was never short of ideas to keep her children entertained. As her children grew and she had more time, she enjoyed selling Avon products to her friends and neighbors. In the fall of 1976, Neil and Florence relocated to Toomsuba, Miss., with the children who were still living at home. Neil passed away on Dec. 17, 1988, and Florence continued to reside in Mississippi. She was strong, intuitive, and very independent. She loved driving and enjoyed long road trips to visit her children and grandchildren. After several visits to Alamogordo, New Mexico, Florence relocated there in 2002 and lived there until her return to Vermont in 2016.
Florence loved her children and grandchildren unconditionally and was proud of each one. When she could not be near them, they were in her thoughts. She loved to crochet baby blankets almost as much as she loved to snuggle the newborn babies. Children were special to her, and they happily thrived in her presence. She was accepting, patient, fun, and loved to laugh. Her contagious giggle will be missed.
Florence is survived by her 8 children: Kathy Hutchins of South Burlington, Vt., Stephen Parks of Newbury, Vt., James Parks of West Point, Miss., Zoe Parks of Williston, Vt., Susan Baker and husband Delton of Alamogordo, N.M., Daniel Parks and wife Dee of Alamogordo, N.M., Janice Gilbert and husband Wayne of Puyallup, Wash., and Carolyn Claxton and husband Billy of Huntington, Vt.; a sister, Joyce Burke of Pittsburgh, Pa.; 15 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren. She was predeceased by a grandson.
Our family would like to thank the wonderful staff at The Ethan Allen Residence for the love and care Florence received during the past 2 years. Her life was truly enriched by the compassionate environment of The Ethan Allen Residence. We would also like to thank The McClure Miller Respite House for their excellent care during her brief stay there.
Calling hours will be held on Monday, Jan. 7, 2019, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Ready Funeral Home Mountain View Chapel, 68 Pinecrest Drive, Essex Junction.
Funeral Service will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2019, at 1 p.m. at the Ready Funeral Home Mountain View Chapel, Essex Jct. Burial will be held in the spring.
Arrangements by Ready Funeral Home, Essex Jct. To place on-line condolences please visit www.readyfuneral.com.