September 1981

With Faith, And Hope

Robert F. Turner

Laymond Parks departed this life early Tuesday morning, September 1. Only three months had passed since doctors found the lung cancer which ended his work as one of the original elders of the Oaks-West church. His family had been warned of his terminal condition, and Vivian and I were deeply torn when we left his bedside to come to Florida for my fall work. He held my hand while I prayed in his behalf, and he said, "I will not see you again." I don't know what I said, but whatever, it concealed my heart.

As we journeyed we spoke of him often, and recalled our many years together. Parks, Collins and Stephenson were the stabilizing influence back of the new Burnet church: so understanding, so wise, so determined to make this a scriptural church above all else. Neither of them would compromise what they believed to be truth, yet they were never arbitrary or "bull-headed" in their application of God's word to frail people. And if someone had to be "visited" with warning and exhortation, Parks was usually the chosen spokesman. He had the rare character to be tender hearted and somewhat emotional, without allowing this to discolor his extensive objective knowledge of God's word.

Vivian and I flew back to Texas for Memorial Services, and bro. Shipley and I spoke to the family and many friends, hurriedly assembled. We felt completely inadequate to express the love, and the pain that overcame us. "And whether one member suffereth; all members suffer with it" (1 Cor. 12: 26). The close ties, the true spiritual family relationship of the Oaks West church, was brought forcefully to mind. How immeasurably wonderful must be the heavenly family gathering.

Sister Parks (Hattie) and the two daughters (Dr. Donna Parks, and Mrs. Dorris Gonzales — both of the Dallas area) must share their memories with a great host of Burnet county "old-timers" and new-comers, who found a true friend and neighbor in Laymond Parks. He knew how to live this life comfortably, and enjoy it; without losing sight of its temporary nature. He could joke with "the boys" at the drug store, without failing to invite them to a gospel meeting. When it became apparent that he would be unable to care for chores on his ranch, some one offered to check the cattle, and see if water-gaps were damaged by some heavy rains. He thanked them, then reminded them that all must face the time in life when cattle and fences are of little importance.

Parks lived a beautiful sermon, on "The Faith and Hope of a Christian."